New Music

The Coup
Party Music
75 ark
It was really something of a publicity coup for the Coup. The Oaktown hip-hop duo were all set to release this album, with its cover shot of the World Trade Center exploding, and then came Sept. 11, and, well, you know. So now the coulda-maybe-shoulda-been-controversial artwork has been replaced by a martini glass. That doesn't mean the music has been watered down, though: on Party Music, the Coup (as in coup d'tat), one of rap's most intelligent and irate outfits, take up on a smaller scale where the Black Panther Party left off, fighting the racist, honky police state with indignant raps and laid-back funk. And the funk comes heavy on Party Music, more so than on their past efforts. The Coup—essentially rapper Boots Riley, sporting a sky-high 'fro, and DJ Pam the Funkstress—have assembled a full-on bottom-heavy band, complete with a guitarist, bassist, drummer, keyboardist and backup singer. The more serious concentration on funk means the hooks don't come as often as they should (Party Music isn't as ass-whipping as 1993's incendiary Kill My Landlord or their 1994 masterpiece, Genocide and Juice), but the Coup remain among hip-hop's most vital agitators, delivering knowledge rather than meaningless streams of words, thoughtful opinions rather than we-is-great boasting. On their riot-stoking single “Get Up,” a collaboration with Dead Prez, Boots raps, “Is you a have or you a have-not?/When you run outta bullets, grab rocks/'Cuz the prison door slam-locks/It don't open when your fam knocks/Less you rich and have stocks/Fight the power like a muthafuckin' Zulu/It's the Coup plus Khnum and Mitulu.” A proud communist, Boots is one of rap's last revolutionaries, posing an important—albeit minor—threat to the global capitalist order.

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