Review Summary: Revolution never sounded so groovy.
In the world of political hip hop, you'll find groups largely divided into two broad camps. On the one hand you have angry artists swinging at everyone and everything that gets their blood boiling; on the other you have groups which choose to present their message through catchier, more refined analysis and beats. The Coup straddles this line effortlessly in their 2001 release Party Music.
Party Music consists of twelve funky slices of politically conscience body-moving music. Their tracks blend punk, funk, disco and hip hop into a monster palate for their self-described revolutionary Communist front man, Boots Riley, to lambaste everything from CEOs to apolitical fence-sitting moderates. The earnest sincerity that shines through in Riley's lyrics steers clear of the angry frustration most political hip hop falls into. Instead, there's an air of positivity and at times humor, as seen in lyrics from 'Wear Clean Draws', or '5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO'.
One of the finest tracks comes by way of "Ride The Fence". It's groove, funky slap bass and throwback guitar riffs provide the perfect medium for Riley to lay into everything from the United States government to the aforementioned fence-sitting moderates. Other tracks take aim at police brutality (Pork and Beef) and wage theft and exploitation (Lazymutha***a), the latter ending the album on an arena-worthy jam.
Various cameos bring even greater variety to Party Music, including guest spots for T-Kash, Martin Luther, and political rap legends Dead Prez.
Ultimately The Coup provides an album that feels revolutionary without being exclusive. Radical and accessible, exactly what Boots Riley has said their band strives to achieve. Make no mistake, this is a band that takes no prisoners when it comes to their politics, but if you weren't paying attention you may have been too busy dancing to notice. If you enjoy political music in the vein of Rage Against the Machine or Dead Prez, be sure to check out this album.
Tracks to check out:
Ride the Fence
5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO