Insane Clown Posse Bizaar

The Insane Clown Posse are almost always written off as artists with a foolish gimmick and no skills, but they've been able to create a great world their fans can escape into for a while and they occasionally come with a brilliant idea, like their "tribute" to The Dating Game, "The Neden Game," and talk-show-as-song "The Shaggy Show." Yeah, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope's MC skills are on the nearly non-existent side, but they've always made me laugh - kind of like that great B-movie you love to watch again and again. Lately, however, the appearance of rap-metal dabblings, as well as a little too much time spent on packaging and not enough on the Dark Carnival concept, has been disappointing to say the least. Except for the intro and the occasional song, there is no central idea pulling ICP's new two-CD set together like it has in the past. Bizzar is the better of the two, since Bizaar is much more guitar heavy. Yeah, two hours-plus of Insane Clown Posse might be a bit much, but there's some great tracks that remind me why I started liking ICP. "If," "Fearless" and "Still Stabbin'" all have a similar feel, but all three are ruthless - in a funny way - to those getting dissed. The carnival-sound that first hooked me on The Ringmaster makes an appearance with "My Axe" and "Take Me Away." The cover of Gary Cooper's "Let's Go All The Way" was probably going way too far and is the only bloody stain on the Bizzar CD. There's also some funny "outtake" style bonus tracks on both CDs. And, if you find yourself bored during any songs, you can play the board game (die included), the 3-D maze (glasses included), or any of the word games that are a major part of the packaging. Oh, and of course those Twiztid ninjas make their requisite appearance. (Universal)