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The group decided that its gangsta rap style was the cause: Most emcees at the time used similar styles, making it difficult for Inner City Posse to distinguish itself stylistically.
Referring to local rapper Esham's horrorcore style, Bruce suggested the band adapt this genre, in a bid to have Detroit represent acid rap, much as Los Angeles represented gangsta rap.
According to Nielsen Sound Scan, the entire catalog of the group has sold 6.5 million units in the United States and Canada as of April 2007 Originally known as JJ Boyz and Inner City Posse, the group introduced supernatural- and horror-themed lyrics as a means of distinguishing itself stylistically.
The duo founded the independent record label Psychopathic Records with Alex Abbiss as manager, and produced and starred in the feature films Big Money Hustlas and Big Money Rustlas.
The group began recording their debut album, Carnival of Carnage, with producer Chuck Miller.
After recording only three songs for ,000 with Miller, Alex Abbiss made his first major managerial move by finding another producer, Mike E. Allmusic reviewer Stephen Thomas Erlewine compared the group's performance on the album to "a third-rate Beastie Boys supported by a cut-rate Faith No More, all tempered with the sensibility that made GWAR cult heroes—only with..sexism and jokes that..up sounding racist".
Instead, they suggested using horror-themed lyrics as an emotional outlet for all their negative life experiences.
The Dark Carnival is elaborated through a series of stories called Joker's Cards, each of which offers a specific lesson designed to change the "evil ways" of listeners before "the end consumes us all".
The original lineup of Insane Clown Posse was John Utsler (John Kickjazz), Joe Bruce (Violent J) and Joey Utsler (Shaggy 2 Dope).
Feeling a sense of home and belonging, Bruce formed a gang called Inner City Posse, which was composed of Joseph Utsler, Rudy Hill, other friends of Bruce, and a number of other connections he had made in Southwest Detroit.
During this time Bruce brought Utsler backstage with him, and all four became close friends.