The intro to the new Insane Clown Posse album, The Mighty Death Pop!, predictably starts with a death. A Juggalo and his lady-friend are standing on a rooftop. After less than a minute of braggadocio, the man takes a running leap off the roof attempting to reach the next building and plummets to his demise. The two man posse then launch into a refrain of “This is your life; you better respect it!”
Once the second, eponymous track fills your ears with melodic bliss, the listener discovers that “the mighty death pop” refers to a bullet being shot. From there it becomes painfully obvious that this album is barely more than two men murdering music.
Obviously, no one ever taught the “wicked clowns,” Violent J or Shaggy 2 Dope, the art of subtlety. Every track is saturated with slaughter. “The Blasta” is a ditty about a man who grows up with homicidal tendencies which he unknowingly passes to his son. “Chris Benoit” tells of “a catastrophic demise.” A Wikipedia search would alert one that Chris Benoit was a professional wrestler who killed his wife and son in 2007, committing suicide by weight machine two days later.
Though the lyrics are generally unintelligible, hearing them makes you wish you hadn’t. In “Mighty Death Pop,” the chorus unfolds, “With the mighty death pop,/ everything stops./ You either rise or drop.” Rising and dropping could refer to either which afterlife one enters, or being the victor or victim in a shootout. A seeming reprise of “Miracles” — the only song most non-Juggalos know by ICP — “Ghetto Rainbows” discusses beauty in a life of poverty and violence: “How the fuck could this be/ up in the sky?/ There is a rainbow over the ‘hood.”
And what would any hip-hop album be without some guest appearances? “Skreeem!” featuring the illustrious Tech N9ne and Hopsin, is a completely incoherent romp through rapping and shrill-sound-making. It also ends with a death. Apparently, “smurfing” (or inhaling a substance until you turn blue) is a thing and you can die from. This album has a specific audience in mind and doesn’t bother to branch out. That’s probably alright with most music lovers.
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