If the Insane Clown Posse seminar at this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos is anything to go by, the eleventh Jokers Card (fifth card of the second deck) is set to be released at the end of this month. Though the promotion of this card, Yum Yum Bedlam, has been fraught with delays the Duke of the Wicked, Violent J, was adamant in July that the album will finally see the light of day at Hallowicked 2021.
The first Jokers Card released in October 1992, when I was just two years old, so as you’d expect ICP’s style has evolved dramatically over the years. I really enjoyed the promotional EP released in February, Yum Yum’s Lure, and so find it highly unlikely I will dislike anything about Yum Yum Bedlam, except of course its name..
As the release of each Jokers Card is a talking point for everyone who regularly bumps underground music, and as I’m so excited to be able to listen to it, I figured I’d run through my favourite track from each Jokers Card that has come and gone so far.
Carnival of Carnage – Your Rebel Flag
The first ever Jokers Card was somehow the last I heard of the First Six. While the clowns hadn’t quite hit their stride with this album you can still find early traces of the magic their music would eventually spread to the entire world. The only track I found myself occasionally listening to after my first time with the album was Your Rebel Flag as the constant shouts of ‘Fuck your rebel flag’ throughout the hook just got stuck in my brain where it still echoes to this day whenever I see the Confederate flag.
Ringmaster – Southwest Song
I live in the south-west of the UK, a very different environment to that of south-west Detroit where J and Shaggy grew up as kids and rapped about on this track. Still, with that said this song still somehow soaked completely into my brain, making it my go-to whenever I’m in the mood for some Ringmaster.
Anyone asks, I’m the south-west strangla (of the UK).
Riddle Box – 3 Rings
Catchy and comedic, 3 Rings is indisputably one of the best tracks from this record as it totally encapsulates the vibe ICP had been building towards since Carnival of Carnage. A twisted and wicked song that never fails to bring a smile to my face whenever Willaby Rags starts shrieking, which even though you’ll definitely be hearing it in your head right now, here it is again-
I certainly hope you’re enjoying yourselves here at our 3 ring exhibit, but to be honest, I really don’t see what’s so fucking funny about it! These fucking people are real!
The Great Milenko – Under The Moon
Arguably the greatest Jokers Card of all time, and a common entry in Juggalo top fives around the world, The Great Milenko is an album where your favourite song from it can change multiple times a day. Whilst writing this, my favourite at the moment is Under The Moon, but I can feel a switch to Halls of Illusions on the horizon..
The Amazing Jeckel Brothers – Play With Me
Even before the lyrics begin in Play With Me the Mike E. Clark beat is one of the best opening seconds of any ICP song ever. The temptation to scream ‘And I’ll Play With Youuu’ along with Violent J is one of the most difficult things to resist in this world, and after listening to the song just one time you’ll forever to doomed with the same urge to scream it any time you hear this track for the rest of your life!
The Wraith: Shangri-La – Crossing Thy Bridge
Crossing Thy Bridge / Crossing The Bridge, it’s up to you what you call it, but this remains my favourite track from Shangri-La. The titular ‘The Wraith’ track is a close second but this list isn’t focussing on silver medals so I don’t know what to tell you. This album is great and will forever stand the test of time, but personally I find its darker half much more appealing..
Hell’s Pit – In My Room
Eagle-eyed readers unfamiliar with ICP will notice I mentioned the eleventh Jokers Card isn’t out yet, but that I already have eleven listed here. Hell’s Pit is part of the same Card as Shangri-La which was released two years before it, with them both reflecting two sides of the same being: The Wraith.
In My Room is easily in my top three favourite all-time ICP songs. If I ever do a cover of one of their tracks you can bet it will be this one, and as Hells Pit is likely my favourite album out of the first deck (it changes regularly) I cannot understate just how many times I have listened to this song over the years.
Bang! Pow! Boom! – To Catch a Predator
My favourite Card of the second deck as there are so many phenomenal tracks to choose from. However, I feel that the message that paedophiles will be savagely tortured and killed is a very important one to make clear to any around the world, so this track just about beats the other front runners for best of the album.
Vera Lee still gives me chills twelve years on as well..
The Mighty Death Pop! – The Blasta
The beat for this song is absolute fire even without the lyrics, so with them included you’re in for an absolutely devastating song. With a central theme of dealing with a boss you’ve hate, something I am very familiar with (but not with my current boss Steve if you’re reading this), The Blasta is a long-proven ‘bad day’ song that elevates my mood with a 100% success rate.
It also helps that one of the verses references being 22, and the album was released just before I turned 22, though the similarities between my life and the song stop there as I never wanted to join the army..
The Marvelous Missing Link – The Carousel
The Missing Link albums don’t get anywhere near as much love as I feel they deserve. Granted, they aren’t great when compared with other Jokers Cards and it took me a while to begin to appreciate Found, but Lost is an album which changed my life for the better when I first heard it. That said however, a couple of months after the release of Found, ICP released an album of tracks left off each of the albums and it was among those that I found one of their greatest ever tracks, and another of my top three of all time: The Carousel.
Insane Clown Posse are masters of musical story telling, and the building positivity gradually twisting into something much darker by the end is an outstanding example of this. The way Violent J’s very speech seems to warp at the end with ‘The Carousel vAniSheS’ is enough to make your blood run cold, and I will never understand how this track didn’t make the final cut for Found.
I like to think it’s because it would have dominated the rest of the album..
Fearless Fred Fury – Night of Red Rum
Finally, the most recent Jokers Card which released in February 2019 has a number of great tracks to pick from for best off the album. While I really wanted to pick I Like It Rough, just the opening of Night of Red Rum is so strong that I have to give it the top spot. (Ratatat tick tock red rum..)
In the promotion for this album ICP said that the name for the fifth Jokers Card of the Second Deck, which we now know is Yum Yum Bedlam, would be mentioned no less than eight times on FFF. Little did anyone know that all eight references would be on the same track, Night of Red Rum!
I cannot wait for Yum Yum Bedlam to drop, and even if it doesn’t end up releasing at the end of October, the hype I have for anything the clowns put out will never die! Let me know your favourite from each Jokers Card in the comments or on Twitter @MaliceVER and I’ll be back with more ICP content, hopefully in the near future, so I will catch you then! Whoop Whoooop!!