But there was no shortage of gangsta rappers in Detroit in the early 90’s. Most of them used the same themes in their music, rapping about violence and drugs. It was tough to distinguish one angry emcee from another.
Inner City Posse made a brilliant decision early in their career. They decided to stand out, and to tell a unique story.
They based their act on a dream that one of the band members had about an evil traveling carnival. The two developed that dream into an entire dark carnival concept that involved elaborate stories, make-up, and horror themes. They renamed their group “Insane Clown Posse”.
The Insane Clown Posse’s elaborate stage show involves monsters, dancing clowns, girls, and trampolines. And the group recognizes that their bizarre storyline is part of what makes them so popular. Joseph Bruce commented that “without all that crazy sh*t going on around us, we’d just be two more idiots walking back and forth rapping on stage.”
With an elaborate theme in place, the band quickly began to get noticed. Their fan base grew, and their success led to the annual Hallowicked concert that they have hosted in Detroit every year since 1994. Despite having no hit songs, their albums sold millions and the band was invited to play at Woodstock ’99, exposing their sound to the world.
Being fans of professional wrestling, the band expanded their reach by taking their extreme act into the ring, working with various wrestling organizations and eventually forming their own wrestling promotion company and hosting their own events. Professional wrestling lends itself well to the over-the-top storyline that is Insane Clown Posse.
Love their music or hate their music, there is no doubt that I.C.P teaches a great branding lesson in how to tell a unique story and how to use that story to stand out in a crowd.
Are you willing to tell it? Someone will dislike you because of it.