from ICP: Behind The Paint by Violent J


Major Childhood Moment Number One


The first thing happened when my brother, Rob, and I were running around in my ma’s front yard in Berkeley. He was six, I was four, and we were chasing one of those colorful, humongous-ass butterflies. Suddenly, my brother started screaming. “Joe, Joe, I got it!”


Rob had actually caught the butterfly. I was pretty shocked. So was he. So was the butterfly, I’ll bet. I don’t really know how it happened, but I guess he jumped off the porch, and actually cupped it in his hands midair.


“It’s prying my hands open it’s so big!” he yelled. “Get the jar! Get the jar!”


We had a jar with holes poked in the top, which we always kept on our porch, because we’d always catch shit like grasshoppers or praying mantises. Anything fresh.


We put this giant butterfly in the jar, and we sat there staring at it. Wow. It was mad powerful-looking. We noticed it had fur on its wings and all kinds of colors. It didn’t even seem like and insect, it seemed more like a bird. We felt really guilty about having it in our jar, like we caught somebody’s dog.


We said to each other, “look man, we’re just gonna have the butterfly spend one night at our house, and we’ll let it go in the morning, because this is way too big and beautiful to keep. Besides, we don’t know what it eats, or anything. We have to let it go.”


We agreed. Just as soon as we got up in the morning, we’d let it go. That night it would be our guest. We just wanted to hang with it for a night.

We poked extra holes in the jar lid and put a screen over it to hook it up more. We had a fan in our bedroom ‘cause it was mad hot, and we put the jar right in front of the fan. The butterfly was our guest, and we wanted it to be extra comfortable.


We tried to sleep, but we kept hearing the butterfly’s wings hitting the glass of the jar, like it was talking to us. It was the shit. We were mad excited.

Next morning, all we could hear was the fan. My brother and I looked at each other in horror, then looked back at the jar. The butterfly was dead.

There was a place across the street that sold potato chips in a big metal can, so we got an empty one and made it into the butterfly’s final resting place. We put a little couch in there made out of napkins and popsicle sticks, and all kinds of other cool shit.


With tears in our eyes, we placed the can in the grave, and filled in the dirt on top of it. We felt so bad, we made a vow right then and there. A vow we continue to live by today:


“One day, we will make it to heaven, so that we can make sure the butterfly made it, and so that we can apologize to that butterfly face-to-face” (If insects are not allowed in heaven, then we would ask to change that policy on the butterfly’s behalf.)


Now if you look on every single ICP album and EP, what does it say in the credits?

“Dedicated to the butterfly.”

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