Insane Clown Posse

The Tempest

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If you think the only differences between Insane Clown Posse fans and sheep are wool, number of legs and acne, then The Tempest won't change things much. Their reputation is too far gone for anyone who prides him or herself on having good taste, since they're culturally rotten to the core with the incorrect amount of irony and few of the qualities that make one revered in hip-hop. "They can't rap" is unfair because they can and do in a carnival barker fashion that fits with their circus motif, their Insane Clown disguises, and Mike E. Clark's big top-inspired production. That's the biggest news this storm called The Tempest brings -- a storm foreshadowed on their 2005 effort, The Calm -- that after seven long years Clark is working with the group once again and the difference is well above notable. While you can't really say there's no ICP without Clark, wrestlers and rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have had little musical appeal without him. For their loyal fan base -- "Juggalos" and "Juggalettes" as they prefer to be called -- music is just a small part of the whole experience and whatever J and Shaggy do/say/think is law. Clark must see it another way and puts these two rappers who "can't rap" into a whirlwind mix. Songs have ridiculous intros that are Alice Cooper with a mallrat attitude, and old-school scratching is all over the place. Hooks are simple and numerous and Clark cleverly borrows from whatever genre he feels like. Low rider music forms the base of "Mexico City," grand psychedelia trips out on "I Do This!," while crunching metal guitars land here and there throughout the album. It all swirls like a funnel cloud, which could somehow be related to this "tempest" if it wasn't for the fact that this storm is actually a roller coaster, a narrative twist that must have something to do with the lucrative possibilities of an ICP Theme Park tie-in. This fuzzy logic of storms becoming carnival rides and clowns rapping about demons, murder, and suicide for albums and albums can't be defended by anyone but the hardcore, but it can be ignored when the producer offers so many crazed diversions. If there are guilty pleasures, this is a guilty, guilty, guilty pleasure but there's no denying that Clark's vision does wonders for the duo. Plus it comes with a free poster.

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