by Chaz Kangas
|Insane Clown Posse, Halloween Enthusiasts|
It's the Halloween season once again. The streets are lit with carved pumpkins, department stores are stockpiled with candy and the Insane Clown Posse is coming to town. Performing Tuesday, October 28, with Da Mafia 6ix at Pop's, ICP mark the twentieth anniversary of its first Hallowicked celebration. For those unaware, Hallowicked is the annual Halloween show that the duo performs in Detroit, which is always accompanied by a special exclusive Halloween song. The Posse is marking this milestone by releasing a two-disc set containing all twenty years of its tracks.
For those looking to sample the tricks and/or treats, or just looking to add a few more selections of spooky sounds to their Halloween playlist, we've assembled the five essential Hallowicked songs.
Dead Pumpkins (1994)
Before the informercials, cameos and "Magnets," there was a time when ICP was genuinely unsettling and creepy. At a holiday often reserved for a degree of campy frights, the Posse's first Hallowicked cassette contained "Dead Pumpkins." Violent J has his Bela Lugosi twang coming and going stronger than usual. The heavy guitar mixing also leans closer to the heavier rock sound that would continue to permeate more of their output as the '90s rolled on. J considers "Dead Pumpkins" and the earlier Hallowicked tracks his favorites, recently telling Horrorcore magazine "You can't capture that again. Those early days when we barely made it through those concerts alive. This was before we knew you had to have a wall of security."
Mr Johnson's Head (1997)
If there's one thing you can say for sure about the Insane Clown Posse, it's that the group's lyrics push the envelope. So much so that sometimes the themes can be a little too insane for distributors. When "Mr. Johnson's Head" was first recorded for 1994's Ringmaster, the clowns were flying indie under their own big top. By the time ICP was on Disney's Hollywood Records in 1997 and wanted to re-record and remix a song about killing a teacher, the House of Mouse said no. This new version, whose production sounds very Dr. Octagon-esqe, appeared on that year's Hallowicked cassette.
Every Halloween (2001)
It must have been incredibly challenging being a radio DJ in the months following the attacks of 9/11. As our nation recovered from the terrorist attacks, it never really felt right to play Bad Ronald or Little T and One Track Mike. One interesting note from this time is ICP scoring a minor radio hit with "Every Halloween." Sent out a few weeks early to radio stations hungry for content to help give people a release from that post-9/11 feeling, "Every Halloween" features Violent J sounding like he was listening to a lot of E-40 for a track of creepy seasonal fun.
Thug Pit (Featuring Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Kottonmouth Kings, Tech N9ne, and Esham) (2003)
Your eyes do not deceive you. Yes, Virginia, in 2003 there was a posse cut assembled that featured Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Tech N9ne on the same track as Esham, Kottonmouth Kings and the Insane Clown Posse. While it may seem like an improbability to some, around this time all these guys were touring with each other. It's interesting considering how different they all are sonically, and yet they meet at this surprisingly conventional midpoint.
Red Moon Howl (2014) This year's Hallowicked track is probably the most Halloween-ish their singles have sounded in quite a while. The Kuma-produced "Red Moon Howl" features the duo's haunting storytelling, only with notably more creepy sound effects mixed into the beat, giving the track a very Hallmark Spooky Sounds cassette vibe. Twenty years is quite the commitment, and it's comforting to know that as long as there's a Halloween, there will be an Insane Clown Posse.