This weeks edition of Hatchet Herald features an exclusive interview with Violent J. In the interview he addresses the people who say ICP has “sold out”, making Jokers Cards vs making bonus material, Fred Durst, F.B.I. “gang” label, will we hear any MDP at the gathering? Plus much more. Click HERE to read the interview or read below(once again this is a Hatchet Herald exclusive interview, TJF did NOT do this interview):
QUESTION: We know the Mighty Death Pop translates to “sudden death”, but what is his role in the Dark Carnival story?
VJ: As you probably know, each Joker’s Card serves as kind of a life lesson for those who were somehow meant to hear its message through the Dark Carnival. My interpretation is that The Death Pop teaches us to respect the life we’ve been given and do our best to avoid an early death.
Some people play games with their own mortality. They try and impress their friends by doing outrageous stunts and taking stupid chances with death. They Gamble. Playing with your life certainly can be attractive because of all the attention, the pats on your back, and everybody saying how brave and fuckin’ crazy you are! Almost seductive in some ways. That’s why the colors of TMDP are white, pink and yellow, as if there’s no danger to it at all. But in reality it’s among the deadliest of the Joker Cards yet.
When you take big chances with your life you’re obviously not considering the very real possibility of The Death Pop enough. It’s all good and exciting until POP! Then the fun instantly dies. SHUT OFF. The Sudden Black Out. The Death Pop doesn’t torture these reckless souls; he just suddenly pulls their plug out. Weather they rise or drop from there I guess is up to who they were when they got popped. And just like he can be avoided in life, he can easily be provoked as well. He loves to pop big shots. I’d say his role in The Dark Carnival is to teach us to respect our lives to the fullest and don’t even fuckin’ play. Ride this bitch as long as you can and live your legacy out to its fullest.
QUESTION: Will ICP be doing any songs from the Mighty Death Pop at this year’s Gathering?
VJ: Of course, the Mighty Death Pop is being born that weekend.
QUESTION: Are Tech N9ne and Hopsin on the same track and are those the only guests on the main album or is there more?
VJ: Tech N9ne and Hopsin are both on the same track with us. We put them on the main album because we know mad Juggalos love them like crazy. We respect the fuck out of Tech N9ne. His shit is so fuckin’ dope and he works so hard that he motivates us to make our best even better. Strange Music motivates all of us on the independent grind. And then you got Hopsin who is fuckin’ making huge noise doing his thing his own way. He tours all the time, he has an impeccable flow, and his lyrics are fuckin’ witty and clever.
We knew we wanted a guest on this Joker’s Card. Maybe even two. We thought about how on the 5th Jokers Card of the 1st Hand – The Amazing Jeckel Brothers back in ‘99 we did a song with Snoop Dogg and another with Old Dirty Bastard. Here we are today, and we wanted to do something similar for this Joker’s Card. Tech N9ne and Hopsin were among our first choices. The way we see it, it features 3 big players, from 3 different Indy labels, all respected in the same underground scene, together on a dope Mike E. Clark track? That my ninas, is dope.
QUESTION: Is The Main Album any different with each version?
VJ: No. The main album is exactly the same in all three versions. The main album truly is the Mighty Death Pop. You could even look at it like this… The Mighty Death Pop really comes free, what you’re actually paying for is the bonus album. It’s just a matter of which of the 3 bonus albums interest you the most? For the ninjas who want all three bonus albums, they just gotta buy each one. Then they got two extra Death Pop CD’s to do whatever they fuckin’ want with. Wear them as earrings if your neck is long enough.
QUESTION: How the fuck are you gonna make a Christina Aguilera and a Yo Gabba Gabba song BAD ASS?
VJ: Because we’re BAD ASS! Look, I just wanna say again that these bonus albums are not the 2nd Jokers Card of the 2nd Hand. These are bonus materials. We are having fun with this shit, while doing our best to entertain Juggalo ninjas. All the immense pressure and heavy concentration went into the making of the main album. Because that main album is really the only thing that matters about the Mighty Death Pop in our eyes. That one main album from start to finish, which is the official Joker’s Card. That’s what ICP should be judged on. That’s really almost the only time ICP is ever fully committed to the Dark Carnival musically. Aside from the Joker’s Cards, we really don’t have any rules or guidelines to follow. Especially with bonus material.
We’ve never been afraid to get emotional. We tried to show this was who we are way back on our very first recordings. We are hardcore wicked all day, but we ain’t afraid to show a soft side whenever we want to. ICP has been like that forever. We’ve done deep shit from “Life at Risk” and “Joke Ya Mind” all the way up to “Miracles”. If we wanna make music from the heart and soul, and show some sensitivity sometimes, we will damn sure do it. We are the ones leaving our legacy behind us and it’s up to us to tell our story how we see fit.
If we make music, then it’s ICP music and if we made it, then its 9 times outta 10, BAD ASS. There are no expectations that we absolutely have to live by. We don’t have to make sure and cuss or kill on each and every song. That’s not how we operate. Fuck that. We keep it real by being ourselves, and showing all sides of our soul’s emotions.
QUESTION: How did you become close with Fred Durst?
VJ: Well, we wouldn’t say we are close to Fred Durst, but we’re defiantly cool with him, I guess. When we first started touring, Limp Bizkit was doing it fuckin’ BIG. As BIG as possible. They we’re defiantly MAINSTREAM to the fullest. But a lot of the music and their shows were just that dope. Back then we liked some of what we heard of course, but we left it alone, I won’t lie. It was way too popular for us. But as you know, there’s a time limit when you’re on top like that. When that time runs out, then you gotta scoot the fuck down over.
Here we are a full decade later or so and Shaggy and me are sittin’ there thinking of who we could get for these crazy collabos? Who would people never expect to hear on a track with ICP? And who would be down to do it? BANG! Nobody would ever expect an ICP / Fred Durst collabo! We reached out and turns out, and I can’t lie, he was cool as fuck. We got him on the phone and kicked it for days. He defiantly has mad respect for ICP. He said he’s always dug our shit but figured we would hate on him if he ever said anything about it. He said just last year he posted our gathering doc “A Family Underground” on his website” He was cool as hell about everything. We was shocked, it was cool.
I sent him two songs to choose from and he chose the remake of AMG’s “Bitch Better Have My Money”. He knocked it out, and he didn’t want shit for it. He was just happy and surprised that we wanted him on it. Then as I’m watching Limp Bizkit play for 150,000 people last year all over Europe on YouTube, I’m thinking about how bands and rappers are so much cooler when there not so cool to America’s mainstream. It’s crazy but that’s how it is for us. When everybody’s jockin’ them, we just can’t seem to hear it. But 10 years later, it’s like we suddenly rediscover it and now it’s ok for us to bump it. Like with Vanilla Ice, Slash, Color Me Badd, MC Hammer, Bobby Brown, and so many others who we‘ve worked with and who’s turned it out at the Gathering.
Now, in my opinion, this seems to be happening with Limp Bizkit. Next thing you know we’re talking about them about playin’ the Gathering and Fred Durst asked “Do you think the Juggalos would have us?”… You know, that’s a damn good question. We honestly don’t know. We even posted a poll on the internet that answered some questions for us to some degree. As for Limp Bizkit, we put them in a line up with 4 other huge bands and asked who would ninjas rather see. Limp Bizkit came in 3rd behind Korn and Rob Zombie, just ahead of Puddle Of Mudd.
We think it would be fuckin’ awesome if they played the Gathering. They’re the underdogs now. Their concerts are mother fuckin epically hype and now that they ain’t the mainstream darlings of the day they just seem way fresher to me. Now that all the fake ass part time sellout fans don’t want them anymore, I kinda wanna bump that shit. These days everybody kind of tears into them and criticizes them. As far as the Gathering though we respect the Juggalos opinions more than anything. It’s their fuckin’ house and they say who can come in. And I’m with whatever their opinion is, whatever it is. So what is it? Would y’all wanna see Limp Bizkit rock the Gathering or fuck that?
QUESTION: Is there going to be a 3 Pack box set that contains all 3 Bonus Albums and The Mighty Death Pop?
VJ: Maybe next year or down the road sometime. But yeah, no doubt. When you least expect that shit. We’re gonna wait to include a DVD of some Death Pop videos and concert footage
QUESTION: In October of last year, the F.B.I listed Juggalos as a hybrid gang on their National Gang Threat Assessment List. We are right up there with the Bloods, Crips, and Mexican Cartel now. We have created a group on Face Book called “Juggalos Against Discrimination” but, we need your help! How do you feel about the fam getting locked up and harassed for their beliefs? Is there anything you will do to help us?
VJ: Excuse my dumb ass here but honestly, what can ICP do about that? It fuckin’ sucks man. It’s an attempt to kill us all off. That is by far the most skantless thing ever done to us, our company, and most importantly our fans. It’s a direct attack on us. People now think our shows are gang rallies. Our merch is gang apparel. What stores are gonna carry gang apparel? What places are gonna let you rock gang apparel at? How the fuck could they do that to us? We’re in the same boat as you! It’s completely fuckin’ ridicules! It’s the fuckin’ stupidest shit ever. Even if there are ninjas out there who call themselves Juggalos and commit mad crimes. They’re not doing it in the name of or for Juggalos. There doing that shit on their own. You might as well blame Halo, Al Pacino, and everything else the ninja is into. We are a mother fuckin’ family if anything.
Listen, as young kids in school, we tend to think idiots, bullies, and morons will eventually grow up into reasonable adults. But the scary thing is that doesn’t always happen. There are fuckin’ idiot adults out there and some of them are powerful. Officially labeling Juggalos a gang is the craziest, scariest, most ruthless thing that has ever been done to us. Any real gang member out there that would harass a Juggalo because of the FBI’s gang list thing is equally as fuckin’ stupid.
It’s incredible to me that this is not worldwide news! It should be everywhere on NBC every night! It’s a travesty! A public lynching of our name. It’s a fuckin’ crime of the FBI to even make such an unfair and fuckin’ idiotic call like that. What can ICP do about it? We’re talking about the fuckin’ F.B.I. But if there’s anything we can do, we will do it. I can’t lie though, we’re so used to being picked on, mistreated and fucked with all our lives and even throughout our rap career that it makes me wanna say, Fuck you then! We are a gang bitch! And do a drive by on all these bitches.
QUESTION: My question for ICP is what the fuck happened man? Y’all were underground and now you’re doing fuckin’ MTV shit. What happened to FUCK MAINSTREAM? Why are you selling the fuck out when you are known worldwide without radio or video play?
VJ: Amazing. We’re not even on MTV. What the fuck video of ours have you seen on MTV lately? What the fuck radio station lately? We aint got no fuckin’ hits. But even if we were all on MTV and radio, nobody said nothing about us sellin’ out when we got radio play in some places with Milenko and Jeckel Brothers. And MTV did play “Lets Go All The Way” from Bizzar Bizaar late night at like 3am quite a few times. We used to watch it in our tour bus. Nobody cried sellout then.
First off let me be honest. In our opinion, and this is true to life, ICP should be judged by one thing and one thing only… the official Joker’s Card Albums. That is truly what we focus all of our heart and soul on. That Dark Carnival music will never let you down. Everything else, the tours, the shows, the infomercials, the videos, Joe and Joey, Psychopathic, JCW, the Gathering, movies, merch, and all that surrounds us is always going to keep changing as time goes on because life is like that.
2nd. How in the blue hell has ICP sold out? And since when is Hell blue? Which of our morals have we ditched to get more success? ICP never changed. ICP‘s music never changed. Period. The world HAS changed and with it came new ways of promoting and advertising our shit. There was barley a fuckin’ internet when we started in the 90’s, man. Today you got YouTube. YouTube is a fuckin’ powerful thing for the underground and for an Indy label like ours. Ninjas blow up off You Tube! YouTube don’t have any program directors. They accept everything. It’s a great way to promote for free. So with that people start to see new sides of Psychopathic Records and Insane Clown Posse. Maybe too much for some. Some Juggalos don’t like our infomercials. Or how we talk. But the truth is, that is who WE are. That’s what we find funny and entertaining. Before YouTube, our music did all our talking for us. Now you’re seeing some of the faces behind Psychopathic.
I think a lot of Old School Juggalos liked us more when we was unseen. More mysterious and lurking just outside of the game. Only real Juggalos had seen our videos and shit. Now anybody and everybody can see our videos, our infomercials. Nowadays technology has made it so everybody in the world can see each other. New people are discovering our Juggalo shit, and love it or hate it, the shit is fascinating. ICP ourselves never changed though. I can proudly say that. ICPs Joker’s Cards have never changed. We got a little older, I got fatter, voices changed a bit from years of touring, we might not stage dive as much, but I can guarantee you we put every last stitch of effort into creating them Joker’s cards as we ever have in our entire lives.
As far the ninjas who want us to sound like we did on Riddle Box and Milenko? Believe it or not, but there are also ninjas out there that wish we would sound like we did on Shangri-La and Hell’s Pit. Some wish we would bring back that Ringmaster sound. We’ve been dropping albums for 20 years now and I can tell you this… You can only be new one time. As a fan, you can only fall in love with something and become part of it once. After that, it can still be awesome, but naturally you’ll start to compare it to itself. Does this make me feel like the old days? Nothing we drop will ever measure up when we were brand new to you.
Look at our shows. There are ninjas of all ages . To some of them Bang! Pow! Boom! is there Riddlebox! Don’t hate because you were new to this shit at one time too. When we drop a new album these days we try our hardest to make a new classic that will be a respected favorite many, many years from now. I also believe that in a lot of cases when long time fans are lookin’ back at our old shit, it’s that whole time period of their life that they’re reflecting upon, not just the music. They’re lookin’ back at the good old days, and that’s always hard to live up to.
QUESTION: Now the first set of Jokers Cards had a countdown of six, till the end consumed us… this second hand is more random in appearance and expectation, so what is the plan to be expected of the final message?
VJ: We left off the graphic showing the 6 boxes with Bang! Pow! Boom! in the first box and question marks in the other 5 because if you look at Carnival of Carnage (the 1st Jokers Card of the 1st Hand), you see that we left it off there as well. We tried to make the 1st Joker’s Card of each hand more of an introduction to the Dark Carnival itself. I think with Death Pop it will all become clearer and the countdown graphic will defiantly be on there.
As for what can you expect for the final outcome, it can only be one thing really. Hell’s Pit again and Shangri-La again. I think the ending to the story will once again be death. The end of your time. Then it’s off to Heaven or Hell. We will release another Shangri-La and Another Hell’s pit album, only this time it will be a new guide taking you there instead of the Wraith. It will be all new music of course but with the 6th Joker’s Card of the 2nd hand. I hope this shit makes since and is as clear to ninjas interested as it is to us, because I can see it in my head clear as day.
The Joker’s Cards are warnings about how to stay outta hell. The Joker’s Cards are really the heart and soul, the nucleus to all things ICP. That to us is the true definition of our band. That’s the only place the real, genuine magic is. It ain’t in who me and Joey are. It ain’t about Psychopathic, or Juggalos even. It’s about what started it all, that Dark Carnival music.