HERE’S MY SECOND ESSAY ABOUT WORKING ON MY NEW SHOW, THIS ONE ABOUT ICP AS A CARGO CULT!
Wicked Clown Love is the sixth full length show in my pop star/pop music based performance series. As I’ve been working on this show I’ve been thinking about the elements I’ve worked with as I’ve made this series of pieces. I’ve decided I’m gonna put up a variety of lil essays about these thoughts for you as they relate to my work in general and my upcoming Insane Clown Posse based show (Feb 2-4, 2012 at the Kitchen! Be there!!) in specific so that you, the American public, can read all about it, if you so desire… Here is Part 2, entitled:
ICP AS A HIP HOP CARGO CULT
Besides the sampling aspect, which I already discussed here, hip hop itself had a huge impact on me, so it’s been great to re-think all of that as I work on this show.
In regards to ICP, one of the things that’s been so interesting is how Insane Clown Posse’s version of hip hop is almost like those cargo cults.
The US military, as part of WWII, set themselves up a variety of islands in the South Pacific that had previously had little or no contact with Americans. Some of these places developed what are called cargo cults, where what they understood of America based on these encounters became a sort of religion of America in its third-hand derivation. Mike Daisey did a brilliant show a few years ago that touched on cargo cults at the Public Theater.
ICP’s version of rap is kind of like a hip hop cargo cult to me. Rap exploded out into world culture and these guys in Detroit took it in and partially because of who they are and partially as a function of being separate from the official conversation of hip hop, it became this other thing. Instead of rapping about Hennessy, they rap about Faygo, instead of being gang members in South Central Los Angeles (although they toyed with that early on), they’re wicked clowns, instead of tales from the coke game in Brooklyn, they have an elaborate Dungeons & Dragons style mythology called the Dark Carnival where every album is a new facet of the over arching mythology.
It’s fascinating, I think, to see how ICP reinforces and departs from the more official versions of rap.