Every genre has its marquee album. You know, the album that made a name for the genre and its performing artists. For horror rap, that album is arguably Riddlebox by ICP. No one will deny the fact that most horror rap heads (now known as Juggalos) were quite familiar with the genre and Insane Clown Posse before ICPs Riddlebox was released, but Riddlebox by ICP is important because its the album that introduced much of the wider world past Juggalos to horror rap.
As Violent J put it back then, Riddlebox was “all the records we had done rolled into one single effort.” That insightful quote says a lotperhaps ICPs Riddlebox was the record that broke them to an audience past Juggalos because they treated it as such going in. Remember, up until this point, horror rap had existed solely as an underground genre situated mostly in the Midwest. Once Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope started treating their horror rap art as a movement that could reach the entire nation, they started to take off.
Whats also interesting about ICPs Riddlebox is the fact that they managed to breakout of their geographical niche while retaining the respect of die hard Juggalos that had been there since the beginning. Often times, artists only blow up because they sell out. That is, they deliberately write songs that appeal to a larger number of people just for the monetary success it will bring them. Not the case with ICPs Riddlebox, and thats why Juggalos respect ICP to this day. Theyve never wavered from their horror rap roots.
ICPs Riddlebox stayed true to the Jokers Card legacy started in their earlier albums. The Jokers Card for Riddlebox by ICP is indeed a jack in the box that determines whether the dead will spend eternity in heaven or hell. Just like past Jokers Cards, this jack in the box aligns with horror rap themes of judgment and retribution. Additionally, as is protocol with all Jokers Cards, if the jack in the box deems youre fit for hell, how it sends you there is graphic to say the least. And Juggalos like imagery of gore.
However, thats not the most important thing that Juggalos like. The thing that unites Juggalos isnt always strictly horror rap, or the violent rhymes in their favorite artists verses. Instead, its a feeling of being misunderstood, just like ICP has been their entire career. I mention this because it came to a head with the release of ICPs Riddlebox.
When the labels showed little interest in promoting Riddlebox by ICP, what did ICP do? They promoted the album themselves independently in local record shops, selling plenty. This example of the band walking the walk transparently with their own album really helped Juggalos solidify their love for horror rap, and its creators.