Thus far, the Coup remains best known as the group with the worst timing in history. The Bay Area hip-hop duo got the attention of the FBI after the cover of its fourth album, 2001's Party Music
, originally depicted leader Boots Riley blowing up the World Trade Center. (Created shortly before the terrorist attacks of September 11, the art was quickly withdrawn.) Riley and his DJ partner Pam the Funkstress then went without a record deal before signing in 2004 with punk label Epitaph, which promptly reissued Party Music
and plans to put out a new album, Pick a Bigger Weapon
, early next year.
Riley's worldview has gained some high-profile adherents while the Coup has been inactive; you can hear it in the paranoia of Kanye West and the warmed-over Black Pantherisms of Erykah Badu, to cite just a couple of examples. However, he's also one of the more talented lyricists in hip-hop, with a writer's attention to detail and a focus on the humanity behind the extreme-left sloganeering. Portland's Lifesavas, who released their debut on the San Francisco label Quannum Projects and toured with Oakland's Blackalicious, add to the by-the-Bay flavor as the Coup's opening act.