The Coup is a musically and politically insurgent band. Fronted by celebrated vocalist-writer and activist Boots Riley and backed by a cadre of talented musicians and collaborators, the band will release their anticipated new album Sorry To Bother You this October 30th via Anti- Records.
The group first exploded on to the scene in 1993 with their debut album Kill My Landlord, a beautifully subversive blast of hip-hop utilizing Riley’s gifted wordplay to address topics ranging from racism, police brutality and class warfare. Called one of their “10 most influential people” by Vibe Magazine, Riley has collaborated over the years with Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine), New Orleans band Galactic, Atari Teenage Riot and more. He is currently a prominent figure in the Occupy Movement, participating in actions and speaking out throughout the world.
Riley is a born radical. Raised in Oakland California, his parents were active in the civil rights struggle. His father was a member of the NAACP and the Progressive Labor Party and participated in the San Francisco State University strike among other actions. “He never pushed his views on me,” Riley says. “But I also knew that I would never be in trouble for my politics. I knew that when I organized a school walk-out in high school I didn’t have to worry about my parents being mad at me. “
Since The Coup’s formation, they have released five visionary and incendiary albums, each forging a different and equally inventive sound. The constants throughout being Riley’s shrewd social observations and the group’s relentless sonic energy exemplified in studio and on stage by the strutting electrifying hip hop influenced Tina Turner like stylings of long time singer Silk-E.
“Every Coup album sounds different from the previous one,” Riley explains. “And that’s really our sound. The first review we got said, ‘It seems Boots is still trying to find his style.’ I think that’s still true today. I’m constantly getting excited about new things. We don’t fit into any one genre but if you’re open to aggressive and danceable music that sounds hopeful, then you’ll be into what we do.”
Sorry To Bother You is the long awaited follow up to the band’s critically acclaimed album Pick A Better Weapon, which the Mojo described as “Smart, sensual, self-loving and self-critical, pissed-off and hilarious” and moved Billboard to call the band “the best hip-hop act of the last decade” For their latest, Boots Riley conspired with co-producer and longtime friend Damion Gallegos, intent on creating a radical new sound utilizing unconventional recording techniques and seemingly incongruous musical styles. The result is an exhilarating highly original music that perfectly animates Riley’s provocative and poetic lyrics.
The album, which features guest appearances by Vernon Reid, Anti-Flag, Das Racist, Killer Mike, Japanther, Jolie Holland, and Joe Henry among others, merges a punk urgency with danceable beats and social commentary to craft a sound that draws from the past but never sounds anything but futuristic.
Bullseye with Jesse Thorn
Saturday, January 26th, 4pm, The Punchline Comedy Club