In October of 2003, Paradox Development released a terrible “wrestling” game titled ‘Backyard Wrestling.’ At the time this game was fantastic, but I was 11 and didn’t know any better. Little did I know that this game would honestly change my life forever. The entire promotion for the game was built around the inclusion of the Insane Clown Posse, a horrorcore hip hop group that my cousin was super into. Hmm…..this looked interesting. Included on the soundtrack were tracks from both ICP and their “protégé’s” Twiztid. I instantly fell in love with both groups. Their flow, their catchy lyrics, their horrific imagery. As a young horror fan I was drawn to everything about these two groups. After becoming familiar, I did my best to surround myself with all things to do with these two groups, and the rest of the Psychopathic label’s lineup. I became a self-professed Juggalo. I attended a Catholic school full of rich kids…I was the outcast and this was my outlet. The first two albums I bought from the groups were “The Great Milenko” and “Freek Show”. These two albums played non-stop in my Walkman until I had the cash to buy more. I grabbed it all! Any piece of merch or music I could find I would grab. I was in and out of AOL chatrooms, talking with other juggalos (lettes) about the latest album that may have dropped, or just how their day was. We were a “family”.
As I reached high school (circa 2006) I began to distance myself from the subculture. The people within the scene began to rub me the wrong way. They mostly cared about causing trouble for other people and I just honestly wasn’t about that. I was in it for the horror tunes, the good hip hop, and this “acceptance for outcasts”. It didn’t help that ICP’s 2004 album, “Hell’s Pit” was the last full album I enjoyed by the group. Honestly, it felt like lead member, Violent J, forgot how to stay on beat after this album. Shaggy continues to hold his own but the releases have continued to go downhill post 2004. That being said, I’ve always kept up with Twiztid. As artists they have continued to evolve. In December of 2012, the Demented Duo decided to leave Psychopathic Records to start their own label. This label, Majik Ninja Entertainment, has continued to build and grow with some of the hottest hip hop acts today. MNE consists of former Psychopathic artists Twiztid, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Boondox, and Young Wicked. Rounding out the lineup are Twiztid’s former partner in House of Krazees The R.O.C, up incomer Lex the Hex Master, the African Honey Badger G-mo Skee, and Gorilla Voltage, who were originally the powerhouse that was the Damn Dirty Apes. That’s a rock star lineup if there ever was one. Each member brings their own unique form of hip hop to the table.
Now, let’s talk elephant in the room. Right now there is a bit of hate between MNE and Psychopathic. I’ve got my opinion and other people have theirs. Other drama aside, I listen to music that I find enjoyable and in my opinion MNE is putting out content I enjoy and Psychopathic isn’t. That is the only mention of the “beef” that will be included in this write up. I’m sure anyone that’s interested in reading this is tired of hearing about it anyway. Just enjoy the tunes.
It’s Thursday, May 11th, the first day of the Psychomania tour featuring Twiztid, G-mo Skee, Young Wicked, Gorilla Voltage and Body Bag Syndikate. It had been raining all day, and I had just returned to the school from a field trip with the 5th grade group I work with. I was looking forward to the show but I honestly wasn’t down with the hour or so drive in the rain that was ahead of me. Slowly but surely, in the Richie Highway traffic, I made my way to Baltimore Soundstage. I’ve kept up with the tunes but I haven’t been immersed in the Juggalo subculture in about a decade. When I hopped in line I was instantly greeted by the people in front of me. This was what I missed. Meeting people for the first time yet chatting like we’ve known each other forever. Around 7:00 the doors open and we all headed inside. I grabbed my photo pass and made my way towards the pit. I instantly knew it was going to be a good night. The crowd was decent but I was the only one in the pit. This meant I didn’t have to fight around anyone to get the pictures I needed. I sat my bag down and ran for the merch booth.
Unless it’s Amazon Prime, I’m not one to shop online. What can I say, I’ve been spoiled by the luxuries of “Free Shipping”. This ultimately means that if there is a piece of merch or music I want I either wait for it to hit Prime or sit it out. Thankfully, I was in merch heaven. I ended up picking up “Freek Show” on vinyl, the Psychomania Tour EP, Lex’s new mixtape “Mr. Ugly 2”, the Triple Threat (Twiztid and Blaze) sampler, the House of Krazees’ “Casket Cutz”, and Body Bag Syndikate’s new album “Infection”. I’ve been trying to limit my band tee collection so I decided to stick to new tunes and vinyl. It was around 7:30, so I made my way pack to the photo pit, put my items away, and got in position for the first act.
Kicking the show off was local opener, was supposed to be hip hop duo Wiley F.L.E.W and Monsta but for some reason they did not play. I’m unsure who the local opener was so if anyone has any information on who this is let me know. He killed it. Brought more of a straight up hip hop and trap vibe to the show I wish I could say more but I’m truly unfamiliar with who this was. Any info would be much appreciated.
The next group up was Colorado’s Body Bag Syndikate. Well known in the underground hip hop world, BBS just released their second album, “Infection” on May 5th. Made up of Franky Grudge and Anthraxe Killah, Body Bag Syndikate has been grinding for 6 years with no sign of stopping. These guys really got the night started. Their horrorcore meets trap style fit in tremendously amongst the crowd and it won me over as soon as they stepped on stage. Having not been incredibly familiar with this group, I didn’t really know any of the songs but dammit I was entertained and vibin’. As soon as their set ended I ran directly to their merch booth and grabbed my copy of the album. I was sure to tell Franky himself that they killed it. You can get their new album, “Infection”, on any digital market or at deadmediamarket.com
We were now in the thick of it. After popping by the BBS booth I made my way back to the photo pit. The following act was newest group signed by Majik Ninja Entertainment, Gorilla Voltage. If you haven’t heard these guys yet, stop right now and go listen. Their beats are always off the hook and the flow will take you on a rollercoaster you won’t want to get off of. Consisting of Mr. Grey and ClockworC, Gorilla Voltage were originally known as the Damn Dirty Apes. Their music is a fusion of hip hop, metal, and even some electronica. No matter the genre, they know how to take over with their soundwaves of excellence. Whenever one of their tracks start, you know you’re in for a ride. They played through a plethora of songs during their set, including both new and old. The duo even dropped a few of my favorite tracks including the self-titled “Gorilla Voltage” and an older DDA track, “Ape Shit”. These guys have quickly solidified themselves as one of my favorite musical groups. Please, if you take anything from this write up, it’s that these guys are dope!
As the set wound down I made my way to the merch booth to give the two some props. After a word or two I was back in the pit for MNE’s most controversial artist Young Wicked. Like I said, I’m not getting into any drama. I’ve always enjoyed Young Wicked, aka Otis. His chopper flow mixed with catchy, emotional choruses have always been a delight. Regardless of how you feel about him he’s always been real in his music. YW came out not giving a damn. He played through a plethora of tracks off of his Psychopathic release “Slaughter”, his MNE EP “Vengeance”, and even a new track or two off of the forthcoming “The Return of the Prodigal Son”. I don’t understand how anyone can deny this guy’s musical talents. The rapper/producer has killed it on all aspects of his art. I look forward to seeing where he goes from here.
I knew that the next act was sure to be the most live of the night. G-Mo Skee has been making his way through the hip hop scene since 2010. His lyrics have always been a fantastic blend of “geek culture”, horror, and overall DGAF wordplay. This guy is not afraid to speak his mind because he knows that he has the skill to back up everything he says. After signing to MNE in 2016 he dropped the excellent “My Filthy Spirit Bomb”; one of my favorite hip hop albums that brings back memories of the Slim Shady LP. G-Mo is one of the greatest lyricists on the scene and he’s finally getting his much deserved props. His set consisted mostly of tracks off of the aforementioned MNE release while working in earlier tracks like “Wombo Combo”. Members of the crowd were begging for the artist to perform his latest Violent J diss, “Pull His Resume”. Not one to shy away from controversy, G-Mo stated that the only reason he wasn’t performing it was because he didn’t have it memorized yet…but he’s getting there. Mark my words, you’re gonna be hearing a lot more from G-Mo Skee, and the INF Gang collective, in the near future. They’re all oozing with talent, keep your eyes peeled.
It was time for the main event. Having been a youngin’ during the early days of my fandom, I never had a chance to see Twiztid live. This was over a decade in the making…and they didn’t disappoint. The Demented Duo, along with drummer Drayven Davidson, killed it! The setlist consisted of mostly tracks off of the newer album, with others sprinkled in every so often. Most of the tracks came off of the newest album or W.I.C.K.E.D. They kicked off the set with their latest single “Kill Somebody”, and from that point forward they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Every single person in that room knew every word to every single song. The crowd became one and it was almost a euphoric experience. If I remember correctly, the earliest track played was Juggalo anthem, “We Don’t Die”. This track had everyone vibin’ along, which is no surprise; even the crew and merch people were getting into it. Twiztid is a classic act that continues to evolve with every release. The new album, “The Continuous Evilution of Life’s Question Marks” has a bit of a rap/rock sound, reminiscent of the 2005 release, “Mutant”. I can’t say a negative word about these guys and I feel like those who do are shrouded by a mental blindfold. The set ended with the “Abominations” track, “LDLHA”. Having to be up early for work the following day, I made my way towards the door and began my trek home.
If this tour is coming to your town, go! Whether you’re a fan or not, you’re going to have a good time. Each artist brings something different to the table, and each of them know how to put on a killer show. If you’re looking to hear some old school Twiztid tracks this may not be for you but screw it, come on out anyway. The newer tracks are fantastic! Head on over to MajikNinjaEntertainment.com and DeadMediaMarket.com to learn more about all of the artists mentioned here.
About The Writer:
Dylan Lyles – Staff Writer
The Phenomenal Dylan Lyles is an obsessive fan of cinema, pro wrestling, horror, vinyl, and comic books. Bursting from the womb in 1992, Dylan’s surrounded himself with all things geek culture. Earliest memories include Wrestlemania 11, ‘The Death of Superman,’ and Jason popping out of the water. You may see him sharing his opinion on just about everything on the internet or maybe even working the MonsterMania Con on the east coast. You love him and he loves you!
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.