“Juggalo Country: Inside the World of Insane Clown Posse and America’s Weirdest Music Scene” by Craven Rock

JUGGALO COUNTRY: INSIDE THE WORLD OF INSANE CLOWN POSSE AND AMERICA’S WEIRDEST MUSIC SCENE
Craven Rock
Microcosm Publishing (2019)
ISBN 9781621063186
Reviewed by Rachel Dehning for Reader Views (8/19)

“Juggalo Country: Inside the World of Insane Clown Posse and America’s Weirdest Music Scene” is written by Craven Rock. Rock, an investigative journalist, sets out to learn more about the group of people known as the Juggalos and their beliefs. His journey begins at the “Gathering,” a festival when all Juggalos come together and celebrate their “togetherness.”

Juggalos are followers of the artists who perform while wearing clown makeup and rap about violence and insulting material; one such group, who were big in the 1990s, is the Insane Clown Posse (ICP), but not the only group in this “horrorcore” genre. Most recently, seeing young kids in the streets donning clown makeup and doing their own thing, Rock decided to do some researching to find out if ICP is still around. His findings show that not only are they still around, but they have been gathering more followers, despite their lack of media attention. Why is this you might ask? The reasoning is their emphasis of “togetherness,” and this being one thing that they all have in common, regardless of age, and despite the fact that the majority of the Juggalos are crude in behavior and poor in regard to the financial classes but are composed of a variety of nationalities.

Part of the “togetherness” is the religion they all follow, called the Dark Carnival, with Judeo-Christian undertones. The term “Shangri-La” is mentioned a bit, which is a Juggalo’s version of the Christian’s Heaven. Other aspects of the Juggalo’s culture are mentioned, all based on Rock’s experience at the Gathering and his conversations with people there.

Not having any previous knowledge of this genre of music, I have to say I am not a fan as I’m not personally a believer in their “religion,” and do not agree with their stance on violence, their views of women, or their use of profane language. That being said, it was interesting to learn about them, as I had no prior knowledge. It seems like they try to be inclusive of everyone, and believe that even those who aren’t Juggalos, but who are still good people will acquire “Shangri-La” (whatever that term means to each individual).

The book is well-written and insightful. I would recommend “Juggalo Country” by Craven Rock to those who already have an interest in ICP, think they might have an interest but want more information, or like me, just want to know more before passing personal judgment.

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