Insane Clown Posse
Riddle Box


4.0
excellent

Review

by oingyboingy7 USER (7 Reviews)
August 28th, 2008 | 191 replies | 35,461 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of their most underrated efforts, "Riddle Box" stands out as one of the best albums produced by the Detroit shock rappers.

3 of 5 thought this review was well written

By the release of Riddle Box, Insane Clown Posse had released two LPs, three EPs and an outtakes compilation, gaining a large following in their home base of Detroit by promoting, releasing and distributing their music themselves. In order to expand their audience, they signed to Jive Records, who did not spend any money on promoting their third album. As a result, this release did not gain as much attention as later efforts, which is a shame, because it contains some of the best-executed ideas of their career. The group is consisted of rappers Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, and producer Mike E. Clark, whose original, creative ideas have allowed him to work with artists ranging from George Clinton to Esham.

The album opens up with a group of friends dying in a car crash. They find themselves facing a ghostly spectre resembling a riddle-box containing the answer to their afterlife. They are told that they will not know where their soul will spend the rest of eternity until they "turn the crank". The production credits for Riddle Box identify this album as the third face of the "Dead Carnival". The instrumental "Riddle Box" opens up with carnival music, hip-hop beats and ghostly laughter. The dead have found themselves in Hell. Backwards beats, synthesizer loops, carnival whistles, ghostly wailing, horn breaks, distant scratching and car-crash sound effects bring up "The Show Must Go On".

"Chicken Huntin'", which had previously appeared on the group's Ringmaster album, is presented here in a rock-oriented "Slaughter House Mix". Hip-hop beats, metal guitar riffs/feedback and droning bass make for an interesting variant, although I prefer the original. The remix does have some excellent scratching, even if it does sound a little too much like rap-metal for my tastes. It's certainly more entertaining than anything Limp Bizkit has ever done. "Toy Box" opens up with gunshots, a wavy beat and the sound of a phone ringing, before jumping into a range of bouncing toys, distant horns, and upfront beats. It focuses on the idea of revenge, with the child of serial killer unleashing deadly toys on his class mates. The toys, like Frankenstein's monster, eventually turn on their creator.

"Cemetery Girl" combines dark, moody synthesizer, distant howling and maniacal scratching to tell its tale of a man who digs up his ex-girlfriend because he's still in love with her, and her ghost has been haunting him. Distant oscillation compliments the track's chorus. "3 Rings" opens up with clinking piano chords, vocalization and sound effects. Hip-hop beats slowly come in before being brought up full-force. The song deals with the concept of being treated like a freak for being different, and criticizes the elite for looking down upon individuals they view as inferior, hailing back to the concept of Carnival of Carnage.

Smashing beats and funky bass lines accent "Headless Boogie", in which the song's protagonist comes across partying zombies. Echoed synthesized piano compliments the track's chorus. The group tastelessly -- and hilariously -- references the suicide of Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain. The track briefly changes pitch towards the end, with excellent results. "The Joker's Wild" is backed by organ riffs, live percussion and funky synthesized bass lines. The concept is that a police officer, a judge, a redneck and a rich man.

"Dead Body Man" is backed by synth crashes, organ riffs, tape warps, whistling, howling and paced beats. Its protagonist is a cannibal/necrophiliac who steals corpses from the local morgue and cemetery. Like Ringmaster, Riddle Box features a "love song", but where that part of the album had been one of the worst parts of the album, Riddle Box's "Lil' Somthin' Somthin'" ends up being one of the album's best. Funky organ riffs, bass lines and soft beats compliment the duo's hilariously over-the-top lyrics. The dark "Ol' Evil Eye" is based upon Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". Its protagonist is haunted by the "evil eye" of an old man he encounters while selling cookies door-to-door, and embarks on cutting out the man's eye in order to stop his torment. Mike E. Clark brings out some of the most creative ideas of the album, incorporating twisted scratching, haunting oscillation, a fast-paced beat, synth riffs, organ chords and frantic bass lines.

"12" is even more haunting, backed by dark piano chords, haunted synthesizer loops, crashes, string arrangements, chilling vocalization and backwards guitar riffs. It tells the tale of a wrongly condemned man who returns from the grave to take his revenge upon the members of the jury who had sentenced him. "The Killing Fields" chillingly details the horrors of hell. Opening with soft wind and a slow flute, making way for dank percussion, synths, terrifying oscillation and haunting vocalization. The instrumental breaks effectively incorporate the voice of a preacher. Funky horn arrangements, wind instruments, handclaps and synthesizer loops back the album's final track, "I'm Coming Home", crossing Detroit street life with a heavenly afterlife.

Riddle Box is a step up from both of Insane Clown Posse's previous albums, effectively experimenting with new musical ideas that compliment the twisted carnival-barker raps of the clown-painted Detroit natives. An original album that provides for an effective deviation for listeners who tire of hearing the same-old, same-old in hip-hop and wish to hear something new, different, and utterly fresh and original. Look no further.



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user ratings (281)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
PayneTiger777
August 28th 2008



4383 Comments


This is much better than the other review you had up earlier, but a 4 for this band? Really? I mean I know it is your opinion and all but I don't think this band deserves anything over a 2 for anything.

Tyler
Emeritus
August 28th 2008



7928 Comments


For the love of god, please stop.

marksellsuswallets
August 28th 2008



4848 Comments


Its nice to see somebody do well written positive reviews for albums that are..well...despised by the musical community, but give the ICP reviews a rest for a week or so...I can't take much more

bustyagunz
August 28th 2008



911 Comments


the only song ive heard by these guys was that homies song, and it made me want to kill myself. and all of their album covers look the same.

Tyler
Emeritus
August 28th 2008



7928 Comments


I don't see why it's nice. The last thing we need are a bunch of juggalos on our site who only write about ICP & co.

marksellsuswallets
August 28th 2008



4848 Comments


Well he reviewed some Oingo Boingo...lawl
If he posts a Twiztid review at any point though, there may be problems...

kingsoby1
Emeritus
August 28th 2008



4938 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

http://www.harmone.com/bands/i/insane_clown_posse.html
Go here please, and do not come back. There's a difference between reviewing and fanboy-ism. Good day sir.

McP3000
August 28th 2008



3941 Comments


we need someone with a ton of patience for bad music to write negative ICP reviews.

This is just getting out of hand

bustyagunz
August 28th 2008



911 Comments


I don't get how there are more 5's than anything else for all their albums, but I've only heard bad things about this group (outside of these reviews), so I agree with McP.

marksellsuswallets
August 28th 2008



4848 Comments


Thats because juggalos are more rabid than maggots....

we need someone with a ton of patience for bad music to write negative ICP reviews.

Honestly, I was thinking about attempting this but I am quite scared to...This Message Edited On 08.28.08

ninjuice
August 28th 2008



6759 Comments


Yeah, I wouldn't try it.
I also agree we already have enough positive ICP reviews here.

Digging: Robin Skouteris - The King of ArtPOP

SHOOTME
August 28th 2008



2393 Comments


Honestly, I was thinking about attempting this but I am quite scared to...


if you're scared, then just make an alt and then post the review on that guy.

72haha72
August 29th 2008



436 Comments


Why would someone like ICP? I will never get it.

mynameismud420
August 29th 2008



134 Comments


Creativity, originality, humor, deviation from the norm. Same reason that I love Primus, another often-despised group. And the best thing about these groups is that they are so amused by the attacks on their music, that they promote themselves as being hated -- ICP frequently refer to themselves as the most hated group in the world, and Primus' slogan, for many years, was "Primus Sucks!"This Message Edited On 08.29.08

Lunarfall
August 29th 2008



3179 Comments


But the thing is, Primus is actually good at being original, while ICP fall flat on their face and deserve being the most hated group in the world.

mynameismud420
August 29th 2008



134 Comments


ICP don't "fall flat on their face", as you say. They succeed quite well.

The thing is, ICP aren't the most hated group in the world. It's a joke, like "Primus Sucks!" They are hated for the same reasons people hate things like Mr. Bungle or Dr. Octagon -- a lot of people don't respect originality and creativity. They'd rather hear 50 Cent, Britney Spears, Soulja Boy. They'd rather hear pop music.

I, on the other hand, do not listen to pop music. I listen to artists that are experimental and original, out there.This Message Edited On 08.29.08

ninjuice
August 29th 2008



6759 Comments


ICP are neither original nor do they succeed at anything.

mynameismud420
August 29th 2008



134 Comments


A fusion of carnival music, hip-hop beats, horror-metal lyrics and left-field humor isn't original?This Message Edited On 08.29.08

ninjuice
August 29th 2008



6759 Comments


original, maybe, but certainly not in a good way.This Message Edited On 08.29.08

mynameismud420
August 29th 2008



134 Comments


In my opinion, they succeed at what they do. I'd rather listen to Mr. Bungle and Primus than the crap MTV is trying to shove down my throat.This Message Edited On 08.29.08



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