Flip feeds off the fear instilled by Red Fred, and opens with a series of songs describing Fred’s character, and the destructive power of violent fury. These were perhaps attempts at album openers, eventually replaced by ‘Red Fred’ and ‘Fury’ as the Joker’s Card’s introductory songs.
They feature varied and interesting rap-styles, and one of the biggest disappointments of either album is that ‘Revenge’ was not a 6-minute song.
The middle section of the album features many of the ICP standards one might expect on a Joker’s Card—sex songs, shit-talking songs, and guest features.
‘Friend Request’ depicts terrible people reaching out for connection, putting a comical spin on the darker aspects of our world before calling these into a clearer focus and calling them out directly.
The fact that these standards appear on Flip is an obvious result of the more focussed nature of Fearless Fred Fury in both sound and tone.
Moving into the final third of this impressively lengthy EP, ICP deliver some long and very interesting songs, exploring new territory and key connections to the main album alike.
‘Hawking’ in particular is an fascinating piece. Covering every imaginable conspiracy theory about controlling groups and lack of hope—this song takes the idea behind FFF’s ‘Satellite’ and Flips it on its head. The songs compliment each other well, showing us that when looking at the big picture, the lens makes all the difference. While ‘Satellite’ looks at the wonder of being alive and gives a sense of unlimited potential, ‘Hawking’ looks at the paralyzing fear of feeling out of control and victimized.
‘Tha Dogg’ is a gritty rocker of a song, telling the story of an abused child growing up to seek violent revenge on his parents, and anyone else in his way.
Either of these two songs may have found a place on the main album—perfectly capturing the precipitous balance between taking actions to change your life, and losing yourself to violence and self-loathing.
The EP closes with ‘Be Safe’, a love song to Juggalos and to each other. It’s an anthemic ode to friendship, love, and togetherness, stressing the importance of key connections in life, and driving home the wisdom of eschewing the dangers and violence depicted throughout the preceding albums.
In a particularly moving moment, J gives a shout out to Cannibal, a Juggalo who died in 2015 defending a mother and her infant child from a violent mugger.
It’s a testament to the beauty of life, and all the things that can keep us from the self-loathing and desperation the rest of the albums take aim at. It’s a fitting ending to the series, and show the importance both of Flip the Rat as a balancing companion to Fearless Fred Fury, as well as the import of the decision to close FFF with ‘I Like it Rough’ rather than ‘Be Safe’.
Taken as a whole, ‘Fearless Fred Fury’ and ‘Flip the Rat’ cover a lot of ground, and work in tandem to present a compelling perspective on self-efficacy and empowerment, contrasted with the desperate, violent, and loathsome results of a failure to appreciate them.
It’s a powerful Joker’s Card and EP combo, and heralds a thrilling era that brings back much of the anger and hard-hitting tracks that some Juggalos have felt were lacking on previous albums. It goes all-in, and gets pretty dark at times, but as is the case with most Joker’s Cards, it has a crucial thread of positivity and appreciation sewn throughout for those who care to search.
-Brad OH Inc.