At ReviewJournal.com, there’s a new article where critic Jason Bracelin speaks on the topics of ICP, Juggalos, Steely Dan fans, hip-hop in general, hick-hop, and more! From that description, it sounds like the article is all over the place. But the reason we’re posting about it is because while Mr. Bracelin admittedly can’t name a single ICP song, he does describe Juggalos as a close-knit fanbase who have created our own culture.
I’ll take that description any day of the week.
He then goes into a fanbase that he’s annoyed by, states some hip-hop artists that he thoroughly enjoys despite some of their subject matter, and even talks about Country Rap. You can check out the full article below.
RJ’s music critic justifies appreciation for Insane Clown Posse, contempt for Steely Dan fans
This column may very well cost me my painstakingly laminated music critic card, which is really, really hard to get: You have to have a pulse, ears and access to a laminating machine.
But so be it.
For now it’s time for me to unburden myself at long last with these deep, dark, career-imperiling confessions.
Prepare for some unpopular opinions, cupcakes.
I kind of like the Juggalos.
Look, loaded water-squirting novelty flower to my head, I couldn’t name you a song by rap jesters Insane Clown Posse — except maybe that one where they liken Eminem’s mom to a werewolf in a thong.
But I dig their story: a couple of lower-class kids from the Detroit area building a multimillion-dollar industry around their music almost completely by themselves, keeping everything in-house with their own label, employing their friends and thriving in defiance of the traditional music industry powers that be.
Oh, and along the way, they once duped Disney into giving them a $1 million deal before the company realized what it was getting into and promptly dropped the duo, with ICP pocketing the proceeds.
As for their following, the Juggalos, yeah, they’re easy to mock with their grease-painted faces and Faygo-stained ICP hockey jerseys — although they did have the good sense to pelt Tila Tequila with bottles at the 2010 Gathering of the Juggalos, so they’ve got that going for them. Know what else? They’re also one of music’s most close-knit fan bases who’ve created their own culture completely outside the mainstream, who don’t care at all about fitting in — anywhere, ever. That’s pretty cool.
Besides, there are way more annoying fan bases.
Speaking of which …
I find Steely Dan die-hards to be high among music’s most insufferable fans
Yes, Steely Dan is undeniably great and worth all the acclaim the band has earned over the years for their skill at brightening deceptively heady arrangements with pop palatability, a merging of the progressive and the populist like only a handful of bands have been able to achieve.
If I didn’t know this from my own experiences delving into the band’s catalog over the years, you Steely Dan partisans would certainly tell me all about it.
Over and over and over and over again.
Seriously, is there a more self-congratulatory fan base?
Do you want a merit badge for possessing the Neil DeGrasse Tyson-diminishing intellect to decipher the band’s various literary references?
And with that, now’s the time you completely prove my point by flooding my inbox with condescending rebuttals about how you’re not condescending.
I don’t think bro country is quite the scourge to recorded sound that it’s often made out to be.
Let me acknowledge this right up front: I’d rather be locked in a phone booth with an aforementioned Steely Dan lifer who just finished reading the previous passage than listen to a Florida Georgia Line record front-to-back.
This being said, what hallowed Music City grounds are they and the likes of Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert and other rap-lovin’ country bros allegedly emptying their bladders upon? Are we talking about the same Nashville that helped introduce the “ba-donk-a-donk” to the popular lexicon?
Look, there will always be a place for country traditionalists, whose music I prefer, but I’d argue that it’s to the genre’s benefit to embrace fresh influences and be more adventurous with the parameters of its sound, even if it results in something we could colloquially call hick-hop.
No form of music benefits from being able to be defined in a sentence.
Speaking of which, can we finally get that death metal-outlaw country mash-up I’ve been pining for?
I’ve never been more polarized when it comes to hip-hop
I don’t think hip-hop has ever sounded better than it does now, thanks to inimitable live wires (Young Thug, Danny Brown), next-gen West Coast standouts (Vince Staples, YG) compelling mainstream stars (Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West) and their consistently inventive, go-to producers (Metro Boomin, 40, Soun Wave). In terms of sheer sonics, you could argue that the genre has never been better.
And yet, I find it frustratingly hard to listen to at times. Why? The increasingly insular nature of the music thematically, the boast-diss-repeat formula that’s exerted a creative stranglehold on talents like, say, Future, whose worldview doesn’t extend past his own navel. We get it, dude, you get more tail than a rat trap at Chuck E. Cheese’s, now, please, your thoughts on the prospects for peace in the Middle East?
OK, so we’re being a little facetious here, but point is, while proclaiming one’s skills on the mic, in the streets and between the sheets has been a part of hip-hop forever, in the past, it wasn’t something that wholly defined it.
Of course, there are artists out there trying to be exceptions to all this, like Chance the Rapper and his conflicted conscience and an increasingly smug J. Cole, who’s starting to give himself a little too much credit for straying from the aforementioned formula while not wholly abandoning it.
But c’mon, can we move the conversation forward, please?