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Behind the Paint: an Uncensored History of a top Horrorcore Rap Act

The Detroit rap duo Insane Clown Posse boasts a career that spans nearly two decades. But until 2003, there was no definitive history of Insane Clown Posse. The book Behind the Paint, by group founder Violent J, served as both his own autobiography, and a chronicle of the group and its record label, Psychopathic Records.†

Throughout their nearly two-decade history, the Detroit underground hip-hop stars Insane Clown Posse have been pretty forthcoming about their trials and tribulations. These pioneers of horrorcore rap, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, would be the first to talk about their checkered pasts and their struggles to rise through the underground hip-hop ranks.†
But while the legend behind the group can be pieced together by devoted fans, for many years, there wasn't a definitive history of Insane Clown Posse. In 2003, Violent J remedied that by penning most of what became a definitive history of both the horrorcore rap scene and Insane Clown Posse itself, a memoir called Behind the Paint.
The book was unlike any underground hip-hop study to date. For one thing, Behind the Paint isn't just a straight history of Insane Clown Posse and horrorcore rap, but also a partial autobiography of Violent J. This material makes up the bulk of the beginning of the book, and provides a lot of the most uncomfortable material.†
In it, Violent J recounts how his father stole all of his family's money before leaving the family when J was just two years old. Soon after, his mother remarried, he recounts, and his stepfather molested both him and two of his siblings.†
This set off many years of delinquency, but, as the book explains, this indirectly led Violent J to a gang, Inner City Posse, which would eventually morph into the more constructive Insane Clown Posse. It's around this time that the history of Insane Clown Posse, and the group's involvement in horrorcore rap, begins in the book.†
Then, as now, the book describes, the underground hip-hop world wasn't super welcoming to the group's unusual horrocore rap concept. According to this history of Insane Clown Posse, the group faced almost as much trouble in the underground hip-hop world as the members did in their personal lives.†
Still, the book ends with triumph, as the group gained more and more fans and eventually went on to found its own horrorcore rap label, Psychopathic Records. In fact, the final third of the book serves as an in-depth account of Psychopathic itself, and its other non-ICP artists and activities.†
Despite all this interesting, if sometimes unpleasant, content, this history of Insane Clown Posse has gone largely unnoticed by mainstream press. Despite that fact, though, this is a pretty quick and easy, but compelling read for all fans of Insane Clown Posse.†
In fact, this is even essential reading for those who want both a broad and deep view of the development of underground hip-hop in general and horrorcore rap more specifically.†
Detroit's contribution to underground hip-hop is acknowledged but not well documented, and this is one of the more thorough accounts of the city's underground hip-hop scene. Even beyond all thatScience Articles, it's just an overall entertaining read for anyone who likes a well-crafted story of an unusual life.†

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This history of Insane Clown Posse is essential reading for any fan of ICP, or any devoted unofficial scholar of underground hip-hop and horrorcore rap. The book can be a little hard to find through traditional channels, but you can definitely find a copy through the Insane Clown Posse web site, at†

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