The Coup photographed by Todd Phillips

The Coup

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Hometown: Oakland, CA (USA)


The Coup, politically radical in their music, align themselves with other radical hip—hop groups like dead prez. Their music is characterized by electronic sounds and bass—driven backbeats overlaid by humorous, cynical and sometimes violent lyrics criticizing capitalism, American politics, prostitution, and police brutality, among other things.

The Coup's debut album was 1993's Kill My Landlord. In 1994 they released their second album, Genocide and Juice. After a four—year recording hiatus, the group released the critically acclaimed Steal This Album in 1998, with a title reminiscent of anarchist Abbie Hoffman's Steal this Book, and a stand—out single in "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night". The online magazine Dusted called Steal This Album "the best hip—hop album of the 1990s". [1]

In 2001, The Coup released Party Music to widespread praise; however, in part due to distribution problems, sales of the album were low. The original album cover art depicted group members Pam the Funkstress and Riley standing in front of the twin towers of the World Trade Center as they are destroyed by huge explosions; Riley is pushing the button on a guitar tuner. The album's planned release date was just after the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the cover art was withdrawn hastily. The cover art was finished in June 2001; there was no connection between the band and the attacks. The album release was held back as alternative cover art was prepared.

The attention generated to the album's cover art generated some criticism of the group's lyrical content as well, particularly the Party Music track "5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO". The song's rap includes lines like, "You could throw a twenty in a vat of hot oil/When he jump in after it, watch him boil". Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin cited the song in calling The Coup's work a "stomach—turning example of anti—Americanism disguised as highbrow intellectual expression".


The Coup Sorry to Bother You

The Coup

Sorry to Bother You (2012)


The Coup Live in Madison

The Coup

Live in Madison (2012)

live show

The Coup live in San Francisco

The Coup

live in San Francisco (2011)

live show

The Coup Pick a Bigger Weapon

The Coup

Pick a Bigger Weapon (2006)



Picture of The Coup

Boots Riley (The Coup/Street Sweeper Social Club)

Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 8:00 PM (EDT)

Picture of The Coup

Track by Track: Boots Riley (The Coup)

Friday, November 2, 2012 at 8:00 PM (EDT)

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