Insane Clown Posse's Shaggy 2 Dope (whose real name is Joseph Utsler) has heard all the talk about having media lightning rod Charlie Sheen appear as part of this weekend's Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. "Everybody thinks Charlie Sheen, craziness! But really it’s not. It makes total sense," Shaggy tells Rolling Stone. "Charlie Sheen right now is under a microscope, he’s under scrutiny. Everything he says is debated, picked apart – much like everything we do."
The duo are themselves no strangers to controversy for pioneering the "horrorcore" genre, using rap-metal for tales of cannibalism, murder and necrophilia. Equally controversial has been the Gathering itself, whose Juggalos are devout ICP fans who have brought their own turmoil over the years, most famously last year when they pelted both Tila Tequila and Method Man with bottles and rocks.
Sheen will host the main stage Saturday night, the first time in its 12-year history that the festival will have a host. "That opened up a whole new door for the gathering itself, 'cause we never even thought about doing a host of the main stage," says Shaggy. They rounded out the hosting lineup with former Saved By the Bell actor Dustin Diamond, rapper Jumpsteady (whose younger brother is Violent J of ICP) and Flavor Flav.
The lineup for the wide-ranging festival, which will also include comedy and a Legends of Wrestling night, features some of hip-hop's biggest names, including Ice Cube, Lil' Jon, Mystikal, Xzibit, Busta Rhymes and Paul Wall, as well as a set by George Clinton and an unusual trifecta of Vanilla Ice, Bobby Brown and MC Hammer.
"We find the people that get accepted the most [at the festival] are people that are looked down upon by your average mainstream people – whether they used to be a super pop act or not, say Bobby Brown or Vanilla Ice or MC Hammer," Shaggy says. "Now that the world has turned their back on them and they’re at a point for ridicule for critics and magazines and TV, Juggalos are, like, okay, 'These motherfuckers are getting it, but they have somewhere to belong here with us in the not-so-in crowd.'”
He is hoping they are welcomed because they're not looking for a repeat of last year's festival, which made national headlines when Tila Tequila was pelted with rocks by the crowd. "We never intentionally go into this with any intention whatsoever for somebody to catch it like she did," he says. Still, he wonders exactly why that got to the point it did. "She was prepaid, she could’ve left the stage the second she got up there, but she chose to stay up there and do her thing," he says. "If I was on that stage and I was getting hit in the head with rocks I would leave, that’s me."