If current affairs make you blue, have a Coup

The Coup
Casual and guests

Hip-hop group the Coup has staged a pop culture coup. They’ve always had love from the underground but lately they’ve gotten a surprisingly large share of mainstream hype. This is surprising. Don’t get me wrong, the Coup are worthy of any and all accolades they get. The underground knows that there funky sound kicks ass, Boots Riley is a damn good lyricist MC and their anti-capitalist social justice oriented messages bring some unheard messages to the masses.

Corporate media usually pays attention to mainstream irrelevant hip-hop about money, ho’s and bullshit rapped over cookie cutter beats tailor made for suburban teens.

The Coup’s coup started when their new album’s artwork was released to the press along with the first single “Fine Million Ways to Kill A CEO.” The cover art was designed back in 2000 and featured MC Boots and DJ Pam the Funkstress blowing up the World Trade Center. The artwork was symbolic of the Coup’s stance on imperialism, globalization capitalism and of music’s power in general.

Then came Sept. 11, a new album cover and a lot of press. The album Party Music will be out later this month and it’s content won’t be censored. The music should indeed be party music any one can get down to. More importantly, it should represent some important unheard viewpoints of many upset Americans that aren’t heard in the mainstream press.

Their live show usually features a live band and maintains the soulful funky sounds of the album. They played Portland State last March. Vanguard A&C writer Gavin Adair and I got an opportunity to interview Boots Riley before their performance. Here are some excerpts of Riley’s responses.

“Very much you will find that the writers that manufacture public opinion will say that what is true hip-hop is the stuff that has the least of the blues aesthetic in it. I’ve even seen things where it said it’s too funky, it’s “not hip-hop enough.’ It reminds me of BB King saying how the Rolling Stones had him open up for them at the Filmore and he got booed … the thing with Eminem is, he was already signed to Interscope before he even hooked up with Dr. Dre, but Interscope said ‘hey, white kids are not going to by a white guy rapping if they don’t think he’s accepted by black people’ … so you have this whole same thing going on as what happened back then, so what I see in the next few years is that there’s going to be another music jumping off.”

“I think there needs to be a revolution, and to have revolution you have to have reform. I recommend getting with any revolutionary organization that has reforms on their agenda as a way to build a revolutionary movement … the only way to do something by yourself is to join with some other people so that your power is multiplied tenfold. That is the basis of how we are going to make change.”

The Coup play an all-ages show tonight at the B-complex with Casual, Mr. Brady and Moka Only.