1991: Insane Clown Posse begin their rampage with their debut album Carnival of Carnage
Insane Clown Posse have been rocking the mic and wearing clown make-up for nearly 30 years. It all began with their debut album Carnival of Carnage, which they dropped on this day in 1991 on their own Psychopathic Records label.
ICP’s Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J only garnered regional success with the album but it was a good start. Through their chaotic live shows, in-store appearances and merchandising, they were able to set up a solid fan base that has now organically grown to millions of Juggalos across the nation. During their career, ICP have been deemed the most hated band in the world, and despite their success, they are still the Rodney Dangerfield of rock-rap –– they get no respect.
“Look at us now. We’re still scrubs,” said Shaggy 2 Dope (via LA Weekly). “No Grammys, no Hollywood parties, no celebrity appearances, none of that. We just don’t count. Even after selling five million albums, we just don’t count. It’s in our blood. For eternity, we’re gonna be the fucking underdog. No matter what happens.”
“The last thing we wanna come off like, and I really mean this, is that we’re bitching and complaining about our career,” added Violent J. “I love where we are. I love that we are ‘The Most Hated Band in the World.’ I love how misunderstood we are — that’s what makes us so special to our fans.”
1994: Digable Planets deliver their landmark second album Blowout Comb
Following the success of their 1993 debut album Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), Digable Planets was given a huge budget to record their second project and left alone to create. The result is their landmark album, Blowout Comb.
Unlike their first album, the group expanded their jazz-hop sound to include live instrumentation and samples from jazz and R&B artists like Bob James, Roy Ayers, Shuggie Otis and others. Standout tracks include their Brooklyn ode “Borough Check,” the street ethnology on “Graffiti” and the militant “Dial 7 (Axioms of Creamy Spies).”
Blowout Comb didn’t match the commercial success of their first project with many critics blaming the group’s pro-black militancy for its commercial failure. But In a 2005 interview with A.V. Club, DP member Mariana “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira doesn’t see the album as a failure because it still continues to resonate with fans.
“It doesn’t really matter to me. You do your work,” she said. “It’s music, man. You do an album, complete it, and then musicians are on to the next thing. Nobody cares about how many units it sold as compared to the old one.”
“[Blowout Comb]…that’s the one people like. You never know what your work is going to do,” she continued. “But pop stars have to worry about it because that’s their commerce. If you’re not number one or selling units, you’re not going to be able to make a record next year. For us, it’s more like an indie-rock attitude. Put it out, work it, and see what happens. It’ll have a shelf life.”
1994: Scarface reps for the ghetto worldwide on The Diary
On this day, Scarface released his third album The Diary, the most personal recording of his career. Among the highlights on the project include “Mind Playin’ Tricks ’94,” a re-flip of the 1991 Geto Boys classic, where he details his issues with mental health. On the haunting “I Seen a Man Die,” ‘Face is the grim reaper as raps about life and death through the eyes of a young man who left prison.
Upon its release, The Diary premiered at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart and sold 1 million copies. The album is also considered a classic in Scarface’s illustrious discography.
“I wanted to make music for my people that I grew up with in my neighborhood. That’s kind of the long and the short of that whole Diary album,” he told XXL on the LP’s 20th anniversary in 2014.
“[James Prince, CEO/Founder of Rap-A-Lot Records] knew that the world was a ghetto and every ghetto in the world would be able to feel the shit that I was putting out,” he continued. “The shit that I was delivering. He used to always say, ‘Y’all thinking local. Y’all gotta think national.’ That’s what [J. Prince] always said.”
2005: Bun B keeps it Trill on his first solo album
When it comes to Houston legends, it gets no triller than Bun B. After a successful run as a member of the iconic southern rap duo UGK (with the late Pimp C), the rap veteran went solo and released his debut album Trill on this day in 2005.
The LP boasts production assists from KLC, Mannie Fresh, Lil Jon, Jazze Pha and others with rap cameos from fellow H-Town rhymers Lil’ Keke, Mike Jones and Scarface. On “Trill Recognize Trill,” featuring Ludacris, Bun B gives a run down on why he’s so respected in Houston and what it means to be trill.
“Being trill means you stand on your…principles, you stand on them, you don’t waver in your beliefs and if people need you, they can always count on you,” he explained to NPR’s Microphone Check in 2013. “Being trill and representing trill was something that we had, for us and that was how we were able to distinguish ourselves from everyone else.”
“Keeping it trill does not mean keeping it hood, does not mean keeping it gangster or anything like that,” he continued. “Being trill really just means being true to who you are. You don’t have to be a gangster to be trill.”
2005: Reverend Run goes on a brief solo run with Distortion
After years of being a member of Run-DMC, one of the most iconic rap groups in hip-hop, Reverend Run went solo and released his debut album Distortion on the Russell Simmons Music Group label. The LP is filled with rap and rock-inspired jams and braggadocious lyrics from Rev. Run himself.
With over 30 years of rapping under his belt, the rap veteran certainly doesn’t need to rap anymore. So why a solo album?
“I’m a poet. I enjoy it. I love a challenge,” he told Couch Sessions in 2005. “This album let me get back into the world and show people what I’ve got.”