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Pop Music Review

Clown Posse: Insane, Inane

September 22, 1997|SANDY MASUO

Sometimes it's difficult deciding which is more bothersome--would-be moral watchdogs or opportunists who feel compelled to push their buttons.

Thanks to the controversy kicked up when Hollywood Records dropped Insane Clown Posse because the label's parent company, Disney, deemed the act offensive, the "horror-rap" duo from Detroit has enjoyed more attention than it deserves. ICP's set at the Hollywood American Legion Hall on Saturday was objectionable only in its gratuitous gimmickry.

Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope capered along with recorded tapes like a demonic incarnation of Milli Vanilli. Though the twosome, decked out in dreadlocks and greasepaint, clearly bellowed the vocals live, it was difficult to understand the words--ultimately a good thing, since it dulled the effect of their raps.

Chock-full of the usual expletives and pointed anatomical references, ICP's songs are intended to provoke but quickly prove monotonously puerile. To compensate for dubious music, J and Dope showered the modest crowd with countless bottles of soda, pranced around with costumed goons and made sure their backing tapes were so bass-heavy and loud that it was impossible not to feel moved by the groove--if only from the sonic shock waves.

To really make a statement, Disney should have canned ICP for being insipid rather than incendiary. But, hey, it's a free country, and these clowns can be as inane as they wanna be.

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