A True Success Story in Underground Rap Music

Sep 6 20:37 2011 Rob Dabney Print This Article

Insane Clown Posse is misunderstood by many critics and fans of other types of music, but there is one thing that no one can deny. The group has enjoyed decades of success on its own terms at a time when many other music industry ventures fail. The gorup has influenced the industry and sound of underground rap music in several aspects. 

The hip-hop industry is hardly kind -- stars rise and fall equally quickly,Guest Posting and labels seem to have no second thoughts about dropping their once prized acts. Fans, too, can be fickle. That's why any kind of longevity stemming from the world of underground rap music is impressive -- especially when the artist has achieved it on his or her own terms. 
Interestingly, one of the biggest true success stories in underground rap music is that of the Detroit duo Insane Clown Posse. Though the group is often misunderstood by the mainstream, those who understand the true history of underground rap music acknowledge Insane Clown Posse's influence on that world. 
In fact, Insane Clown Posse's achieved its enormous success, and influence on underground rap music, by following its own unmatched business model. The crowning success of this is, of course, the group's own record label, Psychopathic Records. 
Almost from the beginning, Insane Clown Posse were taken as outsiders, even in the world of underground rap music. But the group's founding members, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, weren't deterred and learned from an early stage to embrace their outsider status. 
They hand-delivered their own underground rap music releases to record stores, and photocopied and pounded the pavement with their own concert flyers. 
Insane Clown Posse also, from the beginning, embraced a fan-centric business model which was rooted more in punk ethics than, necessarily, the world of underground rap music. The group never put itself above its fans, and welcomed their input and participation wholeheartedly. 
At the same time, Insane Clown Posse was contributing sonically to the world of underground rap music as well. So-called "horrorcore rap" first appeared in the early '90s among a few underground rap music groups, but ICP took it to another level. 
With their cartoonish facepaint and over-the-top live shows, they added a new element of theatricality. They also brought in new musical elements of rock, horror-movie effects, and other assorted strange sounds usually not found in more traditional rap music. 
Plus, as ICP started to gain more and more fans, they were among the first groups to come close to bringing horrorcore rap to the mainstream. 
But one of the most significant achievements of the group is the founding of Psychopathic Records. Insane Clown Posse did, in fact, release some albums for a major label, Island Records, but when they found that unsatisfying, they struck out on their own. 
Psychopathic Records from the beginning was a completely independent operation and remains that way. It predated the do-it-yourself model many artists are scrambling to adopt today after so many majors have collapsed. 
Psychopathic Records also became a platform for the group's other activities. Under the Psychopathic Records umbrella, ICP has released music by many new artists, helping push the horrorcore rap movement further. 
They also use Psychopathic Records to help sponsor events like the Gathering of the Juggalos and various other events. Psychopathic Records also manufactures all of its merchandise and most of its distribution in-house, all in the group's native Michigan. 
In fact, in uncertain times for the music industry at large, it's clear that Insane Clown Posse and Psychopathic Records make for an interesting case study in finding success on one's own terms.

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Rob Dabney
Rob Dabney

To learn all about the history of Insane Clown Posse, Psychopathic Records, and the group's and label's latest underground rap music releases, visit the group's official web site at http://www.insaneclownposse.com. 

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