Violent J Breaks Down Insane Clown Posse's 'Joker's Card' Box Set

God, pro wrestling and Faygo: Inside the 'The First Six,' the most shocking concept suite ever

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'Carnival of Carnage' (1992)

What did the Dark Carnival mean for you back then?
When we started the very first Joker's Card, I didn't know that it was going to be what I'm doing today. But I knew artistically that we were gonna do the six cards, and it gave me permission, somehow, to be a total bad guy and feel alright about it — to totally come with a fat dose of negative and ruthless cussing, rapping about scary shit, but not have a guilty conscience about it because I knew that what we were doing was fresh. Here we were coming in with this super crazy wicked shit, but yet, we're good guys. We just fuckin' schooled it!

What made you the good guys?
Because we were pointing people to religion, you know what I mean? In a way, we were pointing people toward living a better life. But it wasn't all just a big message, it was so much entertainment. The entertainment almost came first to the message— like, the wicked shit came first but there was a positive message underneath it.

On that record you talk a lot about bringing the violence of the inner-city out to richer suburbs.
That's what was going through our mind back then: the traveling carnival that takes itself out of these fucked-up neighborhoods and into the wealthy ones, bringing destruction and craziness throughout. It's like a haunted carnival, you know what I mean? It's coming to the racist people and fucking them up and punishing the evil! Getting the fucking wealthy ones, the evil, no-good suburbanites that don't fucking give a shit about what's happening in the city, in the ghetto neighborhoods. That's where that's where we were living when we were making that music, so that's what was going through our mind.

How did you combine punishing the evil but also indulging it with these really crazy stories? Do you see a contradiction, or does it all go together?
Well, you know some of the stories had a purpose to them and there was a message in the song, and some of them didn't. Some of them were just entertainment, and what we're doing is reaching people like us. We're reaching out to people that find this kind of entertainment cool, you know what I'm saying? This is what was cool in Detroit for kids our age! It was just rappers trying to outdo each other with these crazy gimmicks: There was the guy that was the satanic devil guy, you had a cowboy redneck and we were the wicked clowns. We were the face-painted wicked clowns from Del Ray, from southwest Detroit, and that's what we are today.