Insane Clown Posse – “Pug Ugly the Stink Bud” review

This is the 18th EP from Detroit horrorcore duo the Insane Clown Posse. Consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope, but very few know that 3 other members came & went during the first 5 years of the group’s inception. Not only would The Duke of the Wicked & the Southside Strangla go on to create seminal wicked shit albums like The First 6, but they gained an extremely loyal fanbase in the process & their self-owned Psychopathic Records became an independent hip hop powerhouse as the label’s roster continued to grow. I was a bit worried about their latest album Yum Yum Bedlam given that the prelude EP Yum Yum’s Lure was panned by fans when it came out last Juggalo Day but when Halloween came around, they proved me wrong with what I believe to be my 3rd favorite card in the 2nd deck. Last we heard from them was Wicked Vic the Weed during the first quarter of the year & are now continuing the Seeds of Yum Yum trilogy in the form of Pug Ugly the Stink Bud.

“I’m Ugly” kicks off the EP with a horn-laced instrumental from Mike E. Clark & Violent J describing how unattractive Pug Ugly the Stink Bud truly is whereas “Abbracadabbra” has a more carnivalesque sound to it as 2 Dope joins the Duke talking about making hoes disappear. “Pug Ugly” takes a funkier route so the Wicked Clowns can vividly describe how gross the world is just before “Scrub Gang” is a piano/hi-hat infused ballad out to all the scrubs out there. The spooky atmosphere of “I’m Afraid” is pretty cool with J & Shaggs confess their fears while the 80’s Rock Ballad” is a country rock jam that’s slightly better than their “After Murder Sunrise” loosie that came out back in March & the Mike P. remix of “Queens” is inferior to the O.G. with it’s more electronic-centered sound.

As decent of a beginning to the Seeds of Yum Yum trilogy that Wicked Vic the Weed was, I think I might like Pug Ugly the Stink Bud over here a tad bit more. The production is a refinement of the Carnival sound that the predecessor had brought back & the duo sound as focused as they did at the beginning of the year. Here’s to WOH the Weepin’ Weirdo being a potentially dark conclusion to the Yum Yum era this Halloween.

Score: 3.5/5

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Insane Clown Posse – “Wicked Vic the Seed” review

The Insane Clown Posse are a Detroit horrorcore duo consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope. They originally started as a quartet alongside John Kickjazz & Kid Villain, but both of them left before their full-length debut Carnival of Carnage dropped 3 decades ago & Greez-E only stuck around their best EP in my personal opinion: Beverly Kills 50187. Not only would The Duke of the Wicked & the Southside Strangla go on to create seminal wicked shit albums like The First 6, but they gained an extremely loyal fanbase in the process & their self-owned Psychopathic Records became an independent hip hop powerhouse as the label’s roster continued to grow. I was a bit worried about their latest album Yum Yum Bedlam given that the prelude EP Yum Yum’s Lure was panned by fans when it came out last Juggalo Day but when Halloween came around, they proved me wrong with what I believe to be my 3rd favorite card in the 2nd deck. Here we are 365 days later & they’re actually kicking off The Seeds of Yum Yum trilogy by letting Wicked Vic the Weed be the first in season.

After the repetitive “Wicked Vic” intro, the first actual song “Send in the Clowns” starts off the EP pretty well with J & Shaggs talking about “When makin’ sense makes no sense at all is when you hold the grease paint stick & draw that smile” on top of a playful trap beat whereas “Clown Bounce” is a boom bap-flavored dance tune reminiscent to “Clown Walk” off Forgotten Freshness 4 or even the cringey “Cha Cha Slide” cover “Chop Chop Slide off my 2nd favorite card of the 2nd deck: Bang! Pow! Boom!.

“Mutilator” has a bit of a rock feel to it with the wicked clowns letting listeners in on what it is to be such while the song “Hyde Park Pedaler” goes back to quasi-boom bap turf as Violent J tells the story of the titular serial killer. The actual closer is a cover of the Duran Duran track “Hungry Like the Wolf” except it’s inferior to the rendition that Twiztid happened to do for their 13th album Mad Season a couple years back as for Brian Kuma’s remix of “Ain’t No Time”, it’s alright.

To start off the trilogy, it’s pretty decent. In comparison to the more personal subject matter that the album had to offer, this EP finds J & Shaggs mixing that old school carnival sound with the new sounds they’ve been dabbling in & there’s even some wicked shit laced in as well. Let’s just see how Pug Ugly the Stink Bud & WOH the Weepin’ Weirdo play out.

Score: 3/5

Insane Clown Posse – “Yum Yum Bedlam” review

This is the highly anticipated 16th full-length album from Detroit horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse. Consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope, but very few know that 3 other members came & went during the first 5 years of the group’s inception. Not only would The Duke of the Wicked & the Southside Strangla go on to create seminal wicked shit albums like The First 6, but they gained an extremely loyal fanbase in the process & their self-owned Psychopathic Records became an independent hip hop powerhouse as the label’s roster continued to grow. They dropped a prelude EP earlier this year called Yum Yum’s Lure to widespread backlash amongst the juggalos, so J & Shaggs decided to redo the whole album from scratch & drop it in time for the 28th annual Hallowicked show.

After the intro, the first song “Here Comes the Carnival” kicks off the album celebrating the titular mythology that ICP is known for over a feel good rap rock instrumental from Brian Kuma whereas “Wretched” follows it up with a morbid trap banger produced by Devereaux about Violent J being fucked up in the head. The wicked clowns later go back & forth with each other for the rubbery “Clown Drippin’” basically putting their own spin on swag, but then “Gangsta Code” reuses the beat Mike P. made for “Movin’ On” off of Boondox’ 4th album Abaddon talking about living & dying by the streets.

Meanwhile on “Queens”, we have the clowns delivering an ode to all the juggalettes out there over a mystical trap beat from Mythic Mindz just before “Panic Attack!!!” works in a guitar for J to talk about going off the walls mentally for 7 minutes. “Fuck Regret” creepily declares remorse as the Devil’s work, but then “Insomnia” takes a more cloudier route detailing J’s struggles with such as announced at the Gathering a couple months back.

“Heart & Soul” is a wack cover of the T’Pau joint of the same name while “The Drunk & The Addict” goes back to the trap direction with the help of Shaggytheairhead telling the story of ICP themselves being dependent on booze & drugs. “Don’t Touch that Flower” sees Str8jaket bringing in an acoustic guitar advising to be cautioned by the Yum Yum Flower while “Slap Nuts” is a more heavier cut talking about cats falling for their jokes.

I love how J uses “Bitch I’m Fine” as a chilling way of responding to those worried about his heart failure diagnosis while the song “Carnival of Lights” is a warm look at the camaraderie of the juggalo family. The penultimate track “Ain’t No Time” vulnerably addresses an ex of his over a guitar & finally, “Something to See” ends the album on a sweeter note looking back on their careers up to this point.

Despite all the ups & downs we’ve experienced to get here, Yum Yum Bedlam has to be my 3rd favorite Joker’s Card in the 2nd Deck right behind Bang! Pow! Boom! & The Mighty Death Pop!. Sonically, it’s really cool to hear them fuse the rock elements from The Great Milenko & mixed them together with some of the more trap-flavored cuts from Fearless Fred Fury. Conceptually, the themes of loyalty are displayed with an incredibly unique & profound perception.

Score: 3.5/5

Young Wicked – “Activated” review

Young Wicked is a 34 year old MC, singer, songwriter, producer, engineer & fashion designer from Denver, Colorado who came up as 1/2 of the Axe Murder Boyz with his older brother Bonez Dubb in 1999. The duo put out 4 albums on their own before signing to Psychopathic Records in 2005, making their debut on the label that following spring by dropping Blood In Blood Out to moderate reception. However, their next full-length outing God’s Hand is considered to by many (including myself) to be their best given how much both of them elevated their lyricism & Otis’ production. This resulted in him becoming Violent J’s protege many years later, dropping his solo debut Slaughter: It’s the Best Medicine in the fall of 2015. Fast forward a couple years later, he jumped ship to Majik Ninja Entertainment after a falling out with his mentor to put out an equally fantastic sophomore effort The Return of the Prodigal Son. But after 4 years of focusing on producing & engineering for others, Young Wicked is rebranding himself for his 3rd album.

After the titular intro, the first song “James” almost had a bit of an electronic feel to it bragging about always killing mics whereas “Game Time” is a hyphy banger saying he puts in work every day. “Fuck That Shit” has some eerie piano chords brushing off his haters just before “M.T.L.B.S. (More Tattoos Less Bullshit)” takes things into trap territory saying that’s exactly what he needs.

Meanwhile on “Ice”, we have Young Wicked jumping on top of a cloudy instrumental to brag about how cold he is leading into the braggadocious “Flex” co-produced by DJ Stigmata. He goes in depth about being under the influence on “Felt So High” with a somewhat wonky beat, but then “Satellite” melodically opens up about being unable to escape his shadows.

The song “Tik Tok” is literally a trap cut about how you can make it by dancing on the titular app while the penultimate track “Racing” works in some guitar passages talking about getting live outside. “Feel Alright” then ends the album with a passionate rock cut about saying he’s doing good despite the world burning.

Now despite the artwork being a piss poor ripoff of my 2nd favorite Metallica album Ride the Lightning, it’s clear as day that Young Wicked is a man of many talents & Activated reminds us of that. He sounds completely rejuvenated & I love how diversity it sounds. Clearly the rebrand is an attempt at trying to reach an audience wider than the juggalo realm, but it’s very respectable.

Score: 4/5

Insane Clown Posse – “Yum Yum’s Lure” review

The Insane Clown Posse are a Detroit horrorcore duo consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope. There have been a total of 6 members in the group since it’s inception in 1989, but has been boiled down to J & Shaggy since the release of their 1992 debut album Carnival of Carnage. Together, they would create an empire whether it be subsequent albums like Riddle Box & The Great Milenko or expanding the self-owned Psychopathic Records as a force to be reckoned with in the underground by signing artists from Twiztid to more recently Ouija Macc. Now I wasn’t the biggest fan of ICP’s previous full-length album Fearless Fred Fury back in 2019 because I felt like it was rushed, however I do respect how angry it was. But as they gear up for the next joker’s card Yum Yum Bedlam, the wicked clowns are preluding it by dropping Yum Yum’s Lure on Juggalo Day.

After the “Bewitching” intro, the next song “Loyalty” finds J & Shaggy detailing what it means to be faithful over an ominous piano instrumental whereas the track “Afraid of Life” might be one of the worst ICP songs I’ve ever heard, as they talk about preferring to be a zombie phantom over a rock-flavored beat from Alien Ant Farm of all people.

The song “Smell of Rain” talks about women consuming them over a happy go lucky instrumental from Shaggytheairhead while the track “Ding Ding Doll” tells the story of a boy who buys a cursed Ecuadorian pull string doll from the dark web & the doll comes to life to wreak terror over a pillowy beat over a pillowy beat.

The song “I’ve Had It Worse” talks about how life sucks for everyone over a skeletal trap instrumental from the homie Devereaux while the penultimate track “Candyman” is a solo Shaggy cut with some of his most cringey lyrics on top of a more playful beat. The EP ends with “Clownheads”, which is a bloated & redundant advertisement for their Clownhead Paintings.

Coming from a Detroiter who’s been down with the clown since I was in middle school, I think the House Party Peep Show EP is much better because this is just as bad as The Calm & Eye of the Storm. I think the production is decent, but the execution on a good portion of these songs are terrible in my personal opinion. Really hope these songs aren’t on Yum Yum Bedlam & hopefully that album isn’t as disappointing as the material we got on here.

Score: 1/5

Insane Clown Posse – “ICP’s House Party Peep Show” review

This is brand new EP from Detroit horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse. Consisting of Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope, a lot of cats don’t know that 3 other members came & went during the first 5 years of the group’s inception. Not only would The Duke of the Wicked & the Southside Strangla go on to create seminal wicked shit albums like The First 6, but they gained an extremely loyal fanbase in the process & their self-owned Psychopathic Records became an independent hip hop powerhouse as the label’s roster continued to grow. They did a series of Paetron streams to commemorate what would’ve been the 27th annual Hallowicked show & to give back to everyone subscribed, the wicked clowns gifted them an exclusive 6-track EP.

The EP kicks off with “The Blob”, where Violent J tells the story of a killer blob from another galaxy over a dire beat from Devereaux. The next song “My Forehead” is literally J & Shaggy talking about how big Violent J’s forehead is over an old school instrumental from none other than Mike E. Clark while the track “Cartoon Goon” finds the duo going back & forth about an illustration that will seal your fate over a vilainous beat from Shaggytheairhead.

The song “Mighty Mote” sounds like a leftover from the Fearless Fred Fury sessions as J talks about a kid getting revenge on everyone from his step-dad to his school busdriver to the electronic/trap fused production while the penultimate track “The Ceremony” is a beautiful dedication to Shaggy, Billy Bill & Jumpsteady backed by an uplifting trap beat. The EP closes out with “Live Dead Forever”, which is easily the most wicked joint on the entire thing from it’s lyrics about death to the spooky atmosphere in the production.

For the 4 month wait, it was well worth it in my opinion. Violent J is still one of the greatest storytellers in hip hop history, Shaggy 2 Dope even though he only has very few verses on here is just as skilled & I do like how the production range from the touching “Medals” & the vintage “My Forehead” to the trap-flavored “Mighty Mote”. Safe to say it’s giving me hope for Yum Yum’s Lure next Wednesday as well as Yum Yum Bedlam later on in the year.

Score: 3.5/5

DJ Paul – “Power, Pleasure & Painful Things” review

DJ Paul is a 42 year old MC, producer, DJ, songwriter & entrepreneur from Memphis, Tennessee known for co-founding the seminal Three 6 Mafia with Juicy J. He made his solo debut in 2002 with Underground 16: For da Summa but for the past decade, Paul’s has delivered a total of 7 more albums through his Scale-A-Ton Entertainment record label including his 2015 magnum opus Master of Evil with the help of Psychopathic Records or the Year of the 6 duology in conjunction with Slumerican the following year. However after spending the last year & a half producing & doing features, he’s returning with his debut EP.

After the “Journey Begins” intro, we go into the song “Creepin’”. Where Paul teams up with Wifisfuneral viciously brag over a chaotic trap beat. Then after the “Life Figured Out” interlude, the song “Easy Way” with Yelawolf & the Seed of 6 sees the 4 vividly describing life in the gutter over a dark beat. After the “Cleaner Way” interlude, the song “Came Up” with Rob Vicious is a mediocre anthem about making money. Especially with the tedious “me so horny” hook.

After the “No More Small Time” interlude, the song “Real Money” with Beanie Sigel is pretty much a sequel to the last joint except it’s way more tolerable & off the wall. After the “Life Got Real” interlude, the final song “They Beefin’” is a menacing diss towards people who choosin’ sides. Then the EP finishes off with the “Gettin’ Caught Up” skit & a spoken word outro.

While it’s not bad, it could’ve been a lot better in my opinion. Paul pretty much sticks to his guns both lyrically & sonically, but the interludes before every song are highly annoying. Nonetheless, still a neck-breaking prelude of something bigger to come.

Score: 3/5

Insane Clown Posse – “The Great Milenko” review

When talking about Detroit hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse, it’s impossible to leave out the controversy with their 5th full-length album right here. They left Jive Records shortly after the release of their last album Riddle Box in 1995 so they could get the Disney-owned Hollywood Records to be the new distributors for their own label Psychopathic Records. As for this album, it was taken off shelves by Hollywood just hours after it’s original release on June 24, 1997 & the duo were dropped from the label shortly after in response to criticism from the Southern Baptist Church that the release didn’t reflect Disney’s family-friendly image, despite Disney themselves claiming the album was released due to an oversight by its review board. ICP then signed another new distribution deal with Island Records after they agreed to release the album the way it was originally intended & then it was back on the shelves again in August 12, 1997. The first 2 tracks are both 2-minute spoken word intros pretty much telling the listener what to expect, the first one being with Alice Cooper over an ambient-esque instrumental & then the other one with ICP over an eerie yet more traditional hip hop instrumental. The album’s first song “[Hokus Pokus]” is basically the duo introducing themselves (starting the first 2 verses with a decent back wordplay line) & as for the instrumental, I think the album version is a lot more fun than the [Jason Nevins] remix. The next song “Piggy Pie” gets murderous towards an incestive redneck as well as crooked cops & even the wealthy over an ominous rap rock instrumental with some DJ scratching from Mike E. Clark, who produced this entire album along with a bulk of ICP’s previous material. The track “How Many Times?” is a Violent J solo cut talking about a day in his life & while it’s not that intriguing, the haunting beat is nice. The song “Southwest Voodoo” sees J going back & forth with Shaggy 2 Dope about dark magic over a dreary guitar. The track “Halls of Illusions” talks about using a carnival attraction to murder a wife beater & a child abuser with a killer Slash riff during the hook & the song “Under the Moon” is Violent J talking about a man who was convicted of murdering someone who tried to rape his girlfriend over a gloomy instrumental. The track “What’s a Juggalo?” sees J & Shaggy going back & forth informing their new listeners about their fanbase & I really like the g-funk-esque bass on here. The song “House of Horrors” talks about 2 serial killers trapping people in the titular attraction over a fittingly haunting rap rock instrumental. The track “Boogie Woogie Wu” is Violent J rapping from the perspective of the boogie man over a creepy instrumental & the hook is somewhat catchy too. Especially the maniacal laughter at some parts of it. The song “The Neden Game” is basically a juggalo version of “The Dating Game” & it’s actually somewhat humorous, but the line about Sharon’s 13 year old sister near the end of the first verse does make me feel a bit uncomfortable. The track “Hellelujah” sees Violent J rapping from perspective of a late-night TV Evangelist who‘s begging for money because it’s “what God would want” over a Hellish guitar & then on “Down with the Clown”, he pretty much tells the juggalos not to forget him over an old schoolesque instrumental. The nearly 90 second “Just Like That” sees J getting killed in a drive-by & then it leads us into the closer “Pass Me By, where he & Shaggy talk about immortality over a somber beat. While this is far from being a perfect album, it is ICP’s magnum opus. Primarily because it’s their most well-groomed effort it is (especially on the production tip)

Score: 4/5