The Coup is a phenomenal hip hop group formed in 1991 bent on revolution and funky songs. They blend feel good music with serious words to a great effect. The songs they make aren’t too preachy or unrealistic but actually extremely relatable and humorous while still having a strong message. They can make you think while you dance your ass off. You can plot your proletariat takeover of the government while you get your groove on.
That’s sort of the magic of this band. The beats are always funky as *** on this record. They have a sort of slow strut to them that really exemplifies the lyrics. The music makes you want to move and dips into experimental territory as plenty of obscure instruments and ideas enter the mix such as flute, a vocal-less scratch-fest under the name of “Pam’s Song, harmonica, and much more. The music is actually extremely varied while still sticking to a certain homogeneous 90’s hip hop sound. DJ Pam The Funktress (R.I.P.) brings it all on every record. Layering sampled soundscapes of funky masterpieces with plenty of twists and turns.
The tag-team attack of Boots Riley and E-roc as the MC’s of this group is very awesome. They sometimes trade lines in a call and response style, but they usually take over entire verses (and sometimes entire songs) and lay down funky ass flows over funky ***in’ beats. The flow is actually what initially drew me to the band as both rappers have an impeccable sense of rhythm and rhyme. Songs like “I Ain’t The Nigga” show off their intellectual rhyme schemes while proving how clever they are with words and funny lines. “Nigga is a word they use today, they say, it don’t mean the same if you spell it with an ‘A’... but that’s an argument that makes me itch, I twitch, if I took the ‘T’ out would I still mean bitch?!” That’s both hilarious and true while being thought-provoking, radical, and original. Not to mention it’s technically impressive rhyme scheme.
Which brings us to the lyrics. These guys have a way with words. The first line of the album is “Presto, read the Communist Manifesto.” They don’t beat around bush on this record. They don’t believe in the capitalistic economy and they make a strong case about why it’s ineffective and unfair. Even if you don’t agree with the politics it is commendable and impressive that the band takes a lyrical stance that is unique in hip hop: communism.
Songs like “The Coup” describe a populace “getting drunk on revolution, *** the Hennessy.”
This is very underrated and unappreciated but the quality is here, the originality is here, and the effort is bursting out the seems. It still comes off as chill and relaxed but there is a lot to unpack from this record. It’s very difficult to be opinionated and confrontational but still fun and enjoyable. These guys pull it off real well. It has a sense of humor while talking about real ***. It’s raw but layered. Sophisticated but funky. Not a classic but its flirts with perfection. It might have too much personality to have mass appeal. Still, this is required listening for any revolutionary with an ear for hip hop.