Mastamind and Skitzo of Merk to Gather with Juggalos
mastamind skitzo pictureRappers Mastamind and Skitzo of Merk have been in the Michigan underground rap business for a combined 30-some years, but what they’re about to experience doesn’t even compare to the hundreds of stages at dive bars and mid-to-large venues to which they’ve become accustomed. For they are set to perform on the main stage for the 12th annual four-day 24-hour music festival, the Gathering of the Juggalos (GOTJ).
Headlining will be ICP, the founders of GOTJ, along with Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice and George Clinton, with special guest Charlie “Fired-from-his-multi-million-dollar-TV-show-but-still-winning” Sheen. The event will also feature such “side-shows” as stand-up comedy (with the likes of Brian Posehn and Harland Williams) and professional wrestling (with greats like “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Kevin Nash).
Skitzo, who resides in Kalamazoo, started his music career in the early-aughts with a group of friends formerly known as MERK.
“It stands for Money-Education-Respect-and-Knowledge,” Skitzo says.
The group has since broken up, but Skitzo wasn’t discouraged.
“All that failed. I was the only one to still carry on.”
While adjusting to a solo career, Skitzo has also created a radio show and a TV show and is working harder than ever.
Though they have each released three albums independently in the past two years, Skitzo and Mastamind hit the studio for their first collaborative effort, The Orthus, which dropped on July 28.
“We just fill in the gaps to what we’ve been missing,” says Skitzo on working with Mastamind. “He’s filling in the blanks for me. It’s working perfect.”
Mastamind, who hails from Detroit, was quick to accept the offer to work with Skitzo.
“Working with Skitzo was just a no-brainer,” he says. “I heard all the beats, and they was all slammin’, so of course I had to do my thing on those tracks.”
Gathering of the Juggalos
Before getting together with Skitzo, Mastamind was one of three members of longtime rap group Natas.
“The whole Natas thing was a learning experience,” Mastamind said. “You know, it was something brand new that set the trend for what people know as ‘hardcore.'”
“Hardcore” being the down-n-dirty anti-establishment ultra-rap that tends to attract members of the Juggalo movement — that is, people that are “down with the clown,” and down so much that they will freely paint their faces, grab a case of Faygo and attend Insane Clown Posse (ICP) concerts on a regular basis.
“I see Juggalos at every show I do,” Mastamind said.
And he’ll be seeing a lot more soon as he and Skitzo are set to play on the main stage of GOTJ.
“Anybody would wanna rap in front of Juggalos. S**t, I’m down with the clown.”
In fact, Mastamind and ICP have very similar backgrounds. Each originated in Detroit and has been developing a hardcore fan base since the nineties.
“It’s a community that’s growing everyday,” Mastamind said. “They love all the hardcore music. In 2011, it’s bigger than it’s ever been. There’s millions of Juggalos out there. Millions. Millions.”
Skitzo, too, has had a strong Juggalo base since his start.
“What’s funny is that I’ve always had a lot of Juggalo fans,” Skitzo says. “I never thought that I did music for Juggalos. My concept was totally different. But my music and my concepts and my voice and everything just transferred over.”
And with hardcore rap, the GOTJ is the place to be to bring in more fans.
“The thing about the Juggalos is they’re faithful. They’re loyal fans, and they’ll be fans forever. And they will love your music, thick and through. Especially if you have something to talk about that’s true to them.”
Nice interview but still 0 videos of them performing on youtube