The Coup live in 2011
|Origin||Oakland, California, United States|
|Labels||Wild Pitch, EMI, Dogday, 75 Ark, Tommy Boy, Warner Bros., Epitaph, ANTI-|
|Associated acts||Street Sweeper Social Club, Dead Prez, Talib Kweli, E-40, Black Thought, Spice-1, Rage Against The Machine, Anti-Flag, Star Fucking Hipsters, Les Claypool, Galactic, Del the Funky Homosapien, Das Racist, Latoya London, Atari Teenage Riot, Killer Mike, Jolie Holland, Joe Henry, Japanther, Vernon Reid|
Pam the Funkstress
The Coup is a political hip hop group based in Oakland, California. It formed as a three-member group in 1990 with emcees Raymond "Boots" Riley and E-Roc along with DJ Pam the Funkstress. E-Roc left on amicable terms after the group's second album but appears on the track "Breathing Apparatus" on The Coup's third album, Steal This Album. With the release of that album in 1998, The Coup began incorporating the live instrumentation from their recordings into their live show. The Coup has, since that time, been a full band.
The Coup, part of the sub-genre of political hip hop, is politically communist in its music and aligns itself with other radical music groups such as Dead Prez and Rage Against the Machine. The group's music is characterized by aggressive, yet danceable bass-driven backbeats overlaid by humorous, hopeful and sometimes violent lyrics criticizing capitalism, American politics, patriarchal exploitation, and police brutality, among other things.
The Coup's debut album was 1991s The EP and almost all of the songs on it (except "Economics 101") were put on 1993's Kill My Landlord. In 1994, the group released its second album, Genocide & Juice. After a four-year recording hiatus, the group released the critically acclaimed Steal This Album in 1998, the title of which was reminiscent of yippie Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book. The album featured the stand-out single "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a ’79 Granada Last Night." The online magazine Dusted called Steal This Album "the best hip-hop album of the 1990s".
In 2001, The Coup released Party Music to widespread praise. However, in part because of distribution problems, sales of the album were low. The original album cover art depicted group members Pam the Funkstress and Riley standing in front of the twin towers of the World Trade Center as they are destroyed by huge explosions, and Riley is pushing the button on a guitar tuner. The cover art was finished in June 2001 and the album was scheduled to be released in mid-September. However, in response to the uncanny similarity of the artwork with the September 11, 2001, attacks, the album release was held back until alternative cover art could be prepared.
The attention generated concerning the album's cover art precipitated some criticism of the group's lyrical content as well, particularly the Party Music track "5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO." The song's lyrics includes lines such as "You could throw a twenty in a vat of hot oil/When he jump in after it, watch him boil." Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin cited the song in calling the Coup's work a "stomach-turning example of anti-Americanism disguised as highbrow intellectual expression."
On 15 November 2005, Tarus Jackson (AKA Terrance), who had joined the group as a promoter, was fatally shot during a robbery at his home in Oakland.
2 December 2006 saw another tragedy for the Coup: About two hours following a performance at the San Diego House of Blues, the tour bus in which the group was riding drove off the road and flipped over before becoming engulfed in flames. All passengers managed to climb out alive, although some were badly injured. The group did, however, lose all of its clothes, computers, cash, identification, house/car keys, cell phones, all of its instruments, and sound equipment. Since an insurance settlement was a long time coming, the group was forced to cancel the rest of its tour.
The group’s songs "My Favorite Mutiny" and "Pork & Beef" were featured in the 2007 film Superbad, with the former also being featured in the HBO mini series 24/7 Flyers-Rangers, as well as in the video game NBA Live 07, while "Ride the Fence" was featured in EA's 2007 skateboarding video game Skate. The song “Captain Sterling’s Little Problem” accompanied the closing credits of Sir, No, Sir, a documentary about the GI anti-war movement.
Boots has confirmed that The Coup's sixth album, a concept album entitled Sorry to Bother You, will be released on 30 October 2012. The album will double as the soundtrack to an independent feature film of the same title, written by and starring Boots, which will be "a dark comedy with magical realism" and will draw inspiration from his time spent working as a telemarketer. The first track of Sorry to Bother You, "The Magic Clap", was leaked by the band themselves and posted below an article on August 13, 2012.
|“||I think that people should have democratic control over the profits that they produce. It is not real democracy until you have that. And the plain and simple definition of communism is the people having democratic control over the profits that they create.||”|
In 1991, he and other artists founded the Mau Mau Rhythm Collective, a group set up to use the power of hip hop music to publicize other efforts and movements. The next year, Riley founded The Coup.
Riley was charged with abusive language for allegedly using profanity on stage while performing with the band Galactic in Downtown Norfolk, Virginia, in the city's annual Bayou Boogaloo Festival at Town Point Park in June 2008. This was a result of controversy that started a few weeks prior in the same park when, at a different festival, singer Ray-J used language some found offensive. Riley's charge only carried a small fine. However, the American Civil Liberties Union decided to help him fight it on free speech grounds before the charge was ultimately dismissed by the city shortly thereafter.
During Tom Morello's Fall 2008 tour as the Nightwatchman, Riley appeared on selected dates, and the two debuted a song from an upcoming project called Street Sweeper Social Club. In March 2009, a Web site appeared at the url streetsweepermusic.com, which debuted its first single "Fight! Smash! Win!" It was also announced that the band would be the opening act on the upcoming tour with Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction.
Raymond "Boots" Riley is also an active political/social organizer and speaker. He has been known to work with eviltwinbooking.org and speakoutnow.org, among other groups.
Pam the Funkstress
Pam the Funkstress was a student of the late DJ Prince of Charm. In addition to DJing, she owns and operates a successful catering business in Northern California. As of the 2006 tour promoting Pick a Bigger Weapon, Pam does not tour with the Coup. Instead, Boots performs with a three-man band.
Eric Davis known as E-roc was part of The Coup for the 1st 2 albums and then left the group in 1997 to become a longshoreman. Worked at Longshoreman. Went to St. Elizabeth High School. Lives in Stockton, California.
|Kill My Landlord|
|Genocide & Juice|
|Steal This Album
|Pick a Bigger Weapon
|Sorry to Bother You|
- Hunt, Sam (2002-08-26). "Buy This Album". Dusted Magazine. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "The Coup Cover Art". snopes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- Malkin, Michelle (2001-12-28). "Stop giving America a bad rap". Jewish World Review. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "Member of The Coup Killed in Robbery". Hiphopmusic.com. 2005-11-16. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "The Coup survives bus crash; cancels tour dates!". 2006-12-04. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- "Twitter / BootsRiley: @MOJOmagazine New album, "Sorry". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- Michael Mechanic (2011-01-03). "Boots Riley Is Sorry to Bother You". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- Hudson, Alex (2012-08-13). "The Coup Return with 'Sorry to Bother You,' Get Killer Mike, Das Racist to Guest". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "Politically Incorrect - Boots Riley - part 2 of 2". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- "Norfolk Drops Criminal Charges against Music Artist for On-stage Comments | American Civil Liberties Union". Aclu.org. 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- Tom Morello, Boots Riley's Street Sweeper to tour with Nine Inch Nails, March 6. 2009 Retrieved 2009-03-08.