Both Insane Clown Posse and former DC Talk member TobyMac are performing in Columbus tonight, which bears noticing. They’re remarkably similar in symmetrical ways — practically the proverbial angel and devil on this city’s shoulders tonight.
Both musicians hail from subcultures many so-called “normal” people avoid at all costs, ICP with their well-documented Juggalos and TobyMac with the Christian rock and pop scene. Both of these societal subsets tend to be cliquey to the point that they view mainstream society as a threat. On the other hand, maybe they have reason; both groups are widely maligned for being uncool or scary. Ridicule of evangelical Christian culture is widespread, and (to borrow a biblical example) bias against Juggalos is fiery enough that they might as well be Samaritans. The FBI even classified them as a gang, a ruling the Clowns are fighting in court.
Furthermore, both artists are making a way better living than most musicians out there. You’ve probably heard about ICP’s increasingly popular and profitable Gathering of the Juggalos, which has been gradually accumulating a downright respectable lineup of rap stars (and Coolio). The 2009 installment of the five-day Juggalo get-together attracted more than 20,000 people. They are entrepreneurs living the American dream. But the Clowns aren't the only ones attracting the masses. (No, that is not a Catholic joke.) Did you know TobyMac’s latest album Eye on It debuted at No. 1? And not No. 1 on the Christian chart — No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the overall albums chart. Granted, he only sold 69,000, which seems paltry compared to the multi-million-selling debuts of Eminem and N*Sync's heyday, but it's still better than anybody else did that week. TobyMac's chameleon act (from rapper to rock singer to EDM overlord) is still clicking with the CCM crowd.
So while these groups might not be everybody, they're definitely for somebody. Don't doubt that LC Pavilion and Grove City Church of the Nazarene will both be packed tonight. The long tail lives!