Insane Clown Posse – The Ringmaster (1994)

August 31, 2016
Insane Clown Posse – The Ringmaster (1994)

The Ringmaster has gotta be a contender for one of my favorite ICP records. It marks the point where the group really start to find their feet. As much as I love Carnival of Carnage, it is a bit sketchy and the quality of tracks here far surpasses anything off that album, not to mention the Beverly Kills EP. I also think it’s one of the more under-rated jokers cards, if not the most under-rated of the whole bunch. The Ringmaster is definitely the underdog of the original set of Dark Carnival troublemakers.

There is also a level of “silliness” that is missing from later albums, and the song production has a much more regular hip-hop feel than the unique direction that the band would quickly cement as their own. Don’t get me wrong, there are carnival vibes aplenty, but the overall sound is much dryer and songs about Detroit still number strong. “Murder Go Round” is a classic opener, and shortly afterward is the hat-trick of “Mr. Johnson’s Head”, “Southwest Song” and “Get Off Me, Dog!”; three of ICP’s best cuts back to back, again followed by another banger, “Who Asked You?”.

It kinda falls off a bit after that but “House Of Mirrors” and “Bugz On My Nugz” are absolutely amazing songs, especially the latter, which always has me in peals of laughter. The closing track, “The Ringmaster’s Word” is a twisted work of sampling. I sometimes wish ICP had continued with this earlier sound, I guess if nothing else they might have a bit more credibility (as much as you can give a group like ICP, at least).

I’ve lost the disc on my physical copy of this so I don’t get to hear it that often anymore, but it’s always nice to come back to for a trip through that old-school Detroit smog.

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