Those hunting around for some sort of cheap guidance and surface-level connection to community—preferably equipped with low-level mysticism and an affordable price tag, to boot—have a couple of options available to them, based on their opinion of rapping murder clowns. If they fall on the good side of the killer clown debate, they can find solace in the Insane Clown Posse (Sample guidance: “Fuck everybody on the east/ Eat shit and die/ Or fuck off at least.”) If not: Chicken Soup for The Soul. (These are the two dichotomous poles that perfectly define the human heart.)
So it was, perhaps, inevitable that these two dispensers of bargain bin wisdom would come into conflict, with poet Stan Gebhardt accusing ICP maestro Violent J of plagiarizing his poem “But You Didn’t,” first published in A 2nd Helping Of Chicken Soup For The Soul in 1993. Gebhardt’s complaint—in which he’s seeking damages, and potential profits from the Detroit-based rap group’s alleged use of his work—centers on a video titled “Violent J’s Poem,” which has been floating around online since 2007.
But here’s the thing that makes this all feel a little sketchy (and forced us to hunt around for an extra hour last night, making sure it wasn’t a goddamn April Fool’s joke): There’s no evidence that Violent J posted the video at the center of the lawsuit, or has ever claimed that he wrote the verse. There’s not even any proof that the video—a scratchy recording of Gebhardt’s poem with some bad ICP art floating in the background—actually features Violent J’s voice on it at all. (For one thing, it’s hosted on the YouTube account of some random juggalo with 16 followers, and not the official Psychopathic Records YouTube account.) We did dig up an old forum post from Snopes that suggests that the audio has been online since around the time the video was posted, but the only people attributing authorship to Violent J are JuggaloFreeman91 and the anonymous hordes who fill in info on internet lyric sites. Certainly, it never appears to have shown up on one of the band’s albums.
We’re not in the business of fighting ICP’s battles for them, but it does seem a little weird that Gebhardt’s complaint shows no proof that Violent J was involved in the actual copyright infringement he’s been accused of committing. Meanwhile, neither Shaggy 2 Dope, nor Violent J himself, have weighed in yet on this latest and most compelling of internet mysteries.