The Coup

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The Coup is a political hip hop group based in Oakland, California. It formed as a three-member group in 1992 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. The group is now a duo.

Contents

History

The Coup, part of the sub-genre of political hip hop, is politically Marxist in its music and aligns itself with other radical hip-hop groups such as Dead Prez. The group's music is characterized by electronic sounds and bass-driven backbeats overlaid by humorous, cynical and sometimes violent lyrics criticizing capitalism, American politics, pimping as a form of patriarchal exploitation, and police brutality, among other things.

The Coup's debut album was 1993's Kill My Landlord. In 1994, the group released its second album, Genocide and 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".[1]

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,[citation needed] and was scheduled to be released just after the September 11, 2001, attacks. In response to the uncanny similarity of the artwork with the Sept. 11 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."[2]

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