Insane Clown Posse views its upcoming album, “The Mighty Death Pop!,” as “the last ode to the physical CD” — which is why the Detroit rap duo is issuing it in three separate versions, each with an elaborate bonus disc.
“The way we look at it, this is the last of the CD. It’s almost gone now, and the next time we put an album out it may be non-existent,” the group’s Violent J (aka Joe Bruce) told Billboard.com on the video set for the new track “Chris Benoit” in an abandoned steel mill south of Detroit. “So if the CDs are going away, this is the last of the collectible, ‘I gotta find all three!’ thing that we’ll do before our concentration switches to how to make digital CDs more awesome. So it’s almost like a wave goodbye to the art of the fresh-popped cellophane and huffing that smell of a new CD.”
The three editions of “The Mighty Death Pop!,” which drop Aug. 14, include: “Red Pop,” whose second CD, “Covered, Smothered & Chunked,” features covers of songs by Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson, N.W.A., Tears For Fears, Yo Gabba Gabba and others with features by artists from ICP’s Psychopathic Records roster; “Black Pop,” whose bonus disc sports a single 67-minute song called “Freaky Tales,” “a non-stop rap with no chorus, a total non-stop flow;” and “White Pop,” whose “Mike E. Clark’s Extra Pop Emporium” houses a reprise of “The Mighty Death Pop!” with guests such as Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst, Ice Cube, Kreayshawn, Tech N9ne, Color Me Badd and all three members of the Geto Boys together for the first time on another group’s song.
“Some people will think it’s some marketing, snake oil tactic, but it’s really not in the last bit,” said Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler). “These are three full-length records, not just one or two bonus tracks. We took our time on every single record that comes with it and put in just as much time as we did recording (‘The Mighty Death Pop!’). That’s why it took so long.” “The Mighty Death Pop!” comes a full three years after “Bang! Boom! Pow!,” whose No. 4 debut on the Billboard 200, as well as No. 1 on the Top Independent Albums chart, was ICP’s career best.
ICP recorded “The Mighty Death Pop!” and its bonus discs with longtime producer Mike E. Clark, and Violent J says the 17-song set explores some new sonic territory. “I told Mike to gather every track he had that we never used…and I sat and listened to probably 15 years worth of beats,” he explains. “I grabbed the most unusual sounding tracks. There are some anthems that were obvious, but I wanted to come different on this record. I felt like ‘Bang! Boom! Pow!’ took you back to the old school of ICP; that’s fresh, but I’m not going to live on that formula on every album. We want to keep creating new classics.”
Another new tactic ICP will be taking with “The Mighty Death Pop!’s” release is not touring to support it. Instead the duo will concentrate on Internet pay-per-view webcasts of major events such as its annual Gathering of the Juggalos festival and Hallowicked concert on Halloween in Detroit. “We’re trying to graduate to that next level where instead of knowing they’re going to see us twice a year, every year, we’ll hold out for a minute and see if we can’t create more excitement when we do get back,” Violent J explains. “Let’s say we don’t tour for two or three years, by the time we tour again it’ll be a bigger deal…and in the meantime we’ll get this pay-per-view idea off the ground.”
ICP’s 13th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos, meanwhile, takes place Aug. 8-12 at Cave-In-Rock, Ill. The festival will feature an extra day, while ICP will perform on Saturday rather than Sunday to accommodate fans who can’t stay through the final night. The lineup will be announced soon, but Violent J says the line-up will include “more rock than we’ve ever had, and a lot of f***in’ rap” with an emphasis on East Coast MCs. ICP is also expanding its comedy stage, adding a large tent to house the performances. “It’s just us trying to switch the flavor up, see what works, keep it something new,” Violent J notes. “We try to do that every year. You can’t just give ’em the same thing.”