There are only 13 days left until this year’s “Gathering of the Juggalos,” the annual festival thrown by horrorcore Detroit rappers Insane Clown Posse. This year’s four day version begins on August 6 in Cave In Rock, Illinois, and features hours of music, DJ battles, professional wrestling, motocross, seminars and carnival rides. For those going (or for anybody contemplating attending this year), the group has unleashed a helpful 15 minute infomercial that runs through the highlights of the whole weekend.
As the video shows, this year’s lineup has a few eyebrow-raisers. Obviously, the weekend is headlined by festival godfathers ICP, along with brothers-in-arms Twiztid, but the lineup is fleshed out by a who’s who of “WTF?” guests: Coolio, Vanilla Ice, GWAR and Eminem cohort Bizarre will all be performing. (Bizarre is an especially strange case, considering the history that ICP has had with Slim Shady.) The comedy tent features sets from former MTV personality Pauly Shore, pro wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Good Times” star Jimmy “JJ” Walker.
But the one guest that really makes heads spin is Ice Cube. While Cube is no stranger to pandering (after all, he did make “Are We There Yet?”), it seems extremely odd that Cube would attach himself to ICP. While they’ve had a long, controversial career, they’ve never been considered members of the hip-hop community (which may be a reason they built their own scene that exists entirely outside of anything close to mainstream rap), and it’s been suggested more than once that what they do is little more than hip-hop minstrelsy. Take a look at the Ice Cube from the early ’90s and you’ll see a guy not only hellbent on raging against whatever system dared to try to hold him down, but also railing to protect hip-hop (which is why he made the loudest, angriest music he could). Would the guy who cut “Bop Gun” want to hang with Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J? Difficult to call. (That being said, Cube isn’t the first mainstream rapper to appear at the Gathering — he joins a list that includes Ice-T, Mack 10, Too $hort, Ying Yang Twins and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, among others.)
The craziest thing about that infomercial? The fact that it juxtaposes hardcore wrestling and violent rap music with stuff like waterslides and helicopter rides, proving that no matter how hardcore they are, sometimes clowns just want to have fun.