Confessions of an ex-juggalo: My friend Chad introduced me to the ICP while we cruised suburban Detroit's Gratiot Avenue in the summer of '94.
It's important to understand the urban-obsessed world of lower-middle-class kids, who all reacted the way I did to the shimmering blue cassette that Chad slipped into his car's tape player. ICP's debut, Carnival of Carnage, was rap. This supposedly made it cool. But it was also by two white dudes who talked about such absurd, horror-obsessed stuff that nobody felt like a poseur for listening to it (which is, I imagine, how every suburban white kid felt listening to NWA). The fact that there were maybe two black ICP fans in all of metro Detroit should have told us just how uncool the band was, but we were too distracted by the herd mentality ICP promotes to notice.
That's the wonder of being a juggalo, I suppose. You belong to a mythology that has been developed for almost two decades within the imaginations of two ugly, overtly misogynistic, wrasslin'-lovin' Detroiter wannabes. Fans cover themselves in tattoos, name their kids after these guys, and even commit violent crimes in their name. Although I have not spoken to Chad in almost a decade, I would not be surprised to hear he has a ringmaster tattoo on his triceps, a kid named Milenko, and is currently serving time for hacking up his wife with a hatchet (one of ICP's favorite weapons).
Some call the juggalo lifestyle a subculture, but it shares more similarities with cults. Violent J and 2 Dope get rich off the emotionally misdirected. For a while there, I let them take advantage of me too. Then I grew up, and that's something ICP and many of their fans have never done.