Psychopathic Records, also known as "The Hatchet", is an American independent record label based in Farmington Hills, Michigan that specializes in hip hop music. The label was founded in 1991 by Alex Abbiss and hip hop group Insane Clown Posse. The iconography of a man with a hatchet has been used for years as a symbol of the group, its fanbase, and its associates.
In addition to producing music, Psychopathic also produces merchandise, video, and professional wrestling. Psychopathic runs its own manufacturing and distribution operations for merchandise, managing nearly 30 full-time employees. The label produces an average of $10 million in revenue per year, and has been continuously producing well since its creation.
Following the release of their 1991 EP Bass-Ment Cuts, Detroit hip hop trio Insane Clown Posse, consisting of Violent J (Joseph Bruce), Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler), and John Kickjazz (John Utsler), hired local record store owner Alex Abbiss as its manager. Taking the advice of Joseph Bruce's brother, Rob Bruce, the group and Abbiss agreed to create their own label. After debating between the names Mad Paperboy Records and Psychopathic Records, they decided on Psychopathic and the label soon started operation out of Abbiss's mother's basement. A drawing Joseph Utsler scribbled on a napkin, now known as the Hatchetman, became the company's logo.
Inner City Posse released their first professionally recorded album, Dog Beats, on the label later that year. Shortly after, the group underwent a change in style, look, and name to become Insane Clown Posse, and created the Dark Carnival concept that would be continued by much of the label's other artists for years to come. Esham and Kid Rock were paid to appear on the debut "Insane Clown Posse" album to increase the album's marketability. The group and their label began to gain moderate popularity in the Detroit area following the releases of Carnival of Carnage and Beverly Kills 50187, as well as through their extensive amount of independent promoting.
Mike E. Clark was selected as the label's core producer, with his recording studio The Fun House being the main studio. On March 8, 1994, Insane Clown Posse released Ringmaster, which sold 40,000 copies independently by the summer. Later that year, Project Born was the first outside act signed to Psychopathic Records with the belief that they would become "the next Dayton Family". The group's debut album, Born Dead, received minimal sales, and they were subsequently dropped from the label in 1995.
Insane Clown Posse signed a record deal with Battery/Jive Records in 1995, but left the label the following year after it poorly promoted their new album, the Riddlebox. One day after the group left Jive and one day before it signed with Hollywood Records, Insane Clown Posse released Tunnel of Love on its Psychopathic label. The group released The Great Milenko in 1997, but were notified that Hollywood Records had deleted the album within hours of its release, despite having sold 18,000 copies and reaching #63 on the Billboard 200. The removal caused a public controversy, creating major mainstream coverage of the group and their Psychopathic label.
In 1997, the label signed Myzery, former members of the House of Krazees Jamie Spaniolo and Paul Methric, and Blaze Ya Dead Homie. Taking the name of Twiztid, Spaniolo and Methric created the identities of Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child, and released their first album, Mostasteless, that year. Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, Myzery, and Blaze also formed the supergroup Psychopathic Rydas, and created Joe & Joey Records to release the group's albums to avoid any lawsuits. Myzery soon left the label after releasing the EP Para La Isla.
Later that year, Island Records bought the rights of The Great Milenko from Hollywood Records, and signed Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid to their label. Island also helped Psychopathic Records expand into the movie business by funding Insane Clown Posse US$250,000 to begin work on a full length movie, Big Money Hustlas, written by Joseph Bruce. The film was released through Island Def Jam Music Group, Psychopathic Video, and Non-Homogenized Productions on July 18, 2000.
Following their success in WWF, WCW, and ECW, Insane Clown Posse founded the professional wrestling promotion Juggalo Championship Wrestling in 1999 and created the Psychopathic Sports department. In July 2000, Psychopathic Records staged the first annual Gathering of the Juggalos at the Novi Expo Center in Novi, Michigan. Described by Bruce as a "Juggalo Woodstock", the Gathering of the Juggalos drew over 7,000 people to Novi, Michigan for the 2 day event. Both Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid permanently returned to Psychopathic later that year, and the label soon built its own recording studio, named The Lotus Pod. Twiztid released the album Freek Show, which debuted #51 on Billboard 200.
In 2001, the supergroup Dark Lotus debuted, consisting of Jamie Madrox, Monoxide Child, Violent J, Shaggy 2 Dope, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, and non-Psychopathic artist Marz. Later that year, Anybody Killa was signed to the label. While also working on his own album, Hatchet Warrior, Killa replaced Marz in Dark Lotus for a short period. Detroit rapper Esham, whom Violent J considered to be an influence, also signed with Psychopathic Records, and released a greatest hits album, Acid Rain, the following year.
Jumpsteady released his debut EP Chaos Theory in 2002. At that year's Gathering of the Juggalos, rapper V-Sinizter won an MC Contest and was awarded a one-year contract with Psychopathic Records. On November 5, Insane Clown Posse released their sixth Joker's Card, The Wraith: Shangri-La, which debuted at #15 on Billboard 200. V-Sinizter released Hunting Season in 2003, but was soon released by the label due to minimal sale. Later that year, alternative rock group Zug Izland was signed and quickly released Cracked Tiles.
After releasing Master of the Flying Guillotine in 2005, Jumpsteady retired from music.
That summer, the two supergroups Soopa Villainz and Drive-By were created. The first, consisting of Mr. Diamond (Bruce), Mr. Club (Utsler), Mr. Spade (Esham), and Mr. Heart (Lavel), released Furious in August. The latter, consisting of Blaze and Anybody Killa, released Pony Down (Prelude) in October. Although Esham had achieved his highest level of success at Psychopathic, he left the label that month to reform his own label, Reel Life Productions, and the group Soopa Villainz was disbanded. Anybody Killa left the following February. Later that year, Psychopathic Records and hip hop group D12, representing Eminem, ended their rivalry by holding a bowling match.
In April, Axe Murder Boyz won a single album contract with Psychopathic Records and released Blood In, Blood Out before being released from the label. That June, Alex Abbiss announced his retirement. Long time body guard and friend of Insane Clown Posse William Dail, referred to as Billy Bill, was named new President and CEO of Psychopathic Records. Later that month, the label launched its own internet radio station called WFuckOff Radio. Boondox signed with the label at that year's Gathering of the Juggalos, becoming the first southern rapper on the label. In 2007, R.O.C. signed with newly created Psychopathic sub-label, Hatchet House.
In 2008, Anybody Killa resigned with Psychopathic. That May, the label hosted the first annual "Hatchet Attacks". Axe Murder Boyz signed with Hatchet House on August 22. At the 2008 Gathering of the Juggalos a documentary on Juggalos, entitled A Family Underground, was filmed and was released on May 12, 2009. On February 17, 2010, Psychopathic Records signed a contract with Universal Music Group's Fontana Distribution. During this period, the label was nominated for Outstanding Local Record Label by Detroit Music Awards. Vanilla Ice and Cold 187um signed with Psychopathic Records in 2011. On January 3, 2012, WFuckOff Radio was rebranded as Psychopathic Radio. During the 2012 Gathering of the Juggalos, it was announced that both former acts Zug Izland & Jumpsteady have returned to Psychopathic Records. Boondox and Twiztid left the label. The December 21, 2012 issue of Hatchet Herald indicates that two new artists will issue albums on the label in 2013. On February 4, 2013, it was revealed that one of the new artists was Legz Diamond. An entire issue of Hatchet Herald was devoted to the guitarist, discussing his Psychopathic debut album, 9 Pistolas.
In March, Joseph Bruce commented on Twiztid's departure revealing that there was no animosity between Twiztid and Psychopathic, and speculated that Blaze Ya Dead Homie had also left the label, but that Twiztid and Blaze were still a part of Dark Lotus and Psychopathic Rydas. Blaze later spoke openly about the subject during a concert, stating that he had not departed from Psychopathic. ICP publicly apologized to Blaze via Twitter for the misunderstanding.
Doe Dubbla, a rapper from Detroit, officially signed to Psychopathic in June 2013, under the alias Big Hoodoo. In July, Psychopathic released Big Hoodoo's debut, Crystal Skull, Cold 187 um departed from the label At the 2013 Gathering of the Juggalos, it was confirmed that Axe Murder Boyz and Boondox are returning to Psychopathic, while Blaze Ya Dead Homie ended up leaving Psychopathic Records.
A former employee is suing the label for sexual harassment.
During an interview in March 2014 DJ Paul of Da Mafia 6ix announced that they will be doing a collaboration album with Insane Clown Posse.
Psychopathic Records began distribution of merchandise in 1994 by selling T-shirts. After several comic books drawn by Joseph Utlser sold quickly in 1994, the label also started manufacturing collectibles. Psychopathic later created a separate department for their merchandising and called their line Hatchet Gear, named after the label's Hatchetman logo which more closely resembles a traditional meat cleaver. Hatchetgear currently sells everything from T-shirts, jerseys, and hoodies to "energy drinks, action figures, ski masks, liquor flasks, jewely, and sneakers." The range and marketability of their merchandise has become a nearly "unprecedented" aspect of the company.
Psychopathic Video has released 6 professional wrestling videos, 5 concert films, 5 documentaries, 1 mockumentary, 1 mini-movie, 1 collection of music videos, and 2 feature films. On August 31, 2004, Psychopathic Video made world history when it released the mini-movie Bowling Balls with Insane Clown Posse's album Hell's Pit. The video was the first ever 3-D film shot in high-definition.
Psychopathic Sports was launched in 1997 when Insane Clown Posse released a VHS entitled ICP's Strangle-Mania, which featured a compilation of professional wrestling death matches from the Outrageously Violent Wrestling from Japan video collection, overdubbed with their own humorous commentary. It hosted two Strangle-Mania Live wrestling events in 1997 and 1998. With Juggalo Championship Wrestling's inception in 1999, Psychopathic Sports turned its full focus to the promotion. In 2007, it started the SlamTV! internet wrestling show, as well as the SlamTV! Express mini-show in 2010. Psychopathic Sports also promoted the debut house show for TNA Wrestling on March 17, 2006 in Plymouth, Michigan.
The department expanded in January 2010, announcing that it had bought a warehouse to run operations in Novi, Michigan and had hired full-time workers. They also announced plans to run Juggalo Championship Wrestling full-time starting November of that year. The promotion will hold tapings of SlamTV! every other week, as well as run one additional show a month, at the Juggalo Arena. All shows will be taped and released on DVD, and a clothing line is set to be created.
Psychopathic Records holds several annual events throughout the year that feature performances by the entire label, sometimes referred to as the Psychopathic Family or Hatchet Family. In 2008, the label hosted the first "Hatchet Attacks," which occurs in the first half of each year and features performances by the entire label and JCW wrestling. Since 2000, it has been hosting the Gathering of the Juggalos, an event that spans four days throughout August. It features over 100 bands, professional wrestling, and various party activities. Within the week of Christmas, Psychopathic hosts "Big Ballas X-Mas Party." Along with JCW wrestling and guest performers, the final act consists of the entire Psychopathic label performing together, known specifically as the Deadly Medley.
|Country of origin:||US|
|Distributor(s):||InGrooves/Fontana (US & Canada)|
Insane Clown Posse
|Location:||Farmington Hills, Michigan|
|Official website:||Psychopathic Records|