The Coup
The Coup
Label: Epitaph Records
Genre: Hip Hop
Online: Artist Website


Block-rocking, system-knocking, lyrical-gun-cocking funkateers THE COUP will be releasing their Epitaph debut album, Pick A Bigger Weapon, on April 22, 2006. Kicking off with a classic line by frontman Boots Riley—"I'm a walking contradiction/Like bullets and love mixin'...," Pick A Bigger Weapon captures the collisions between economics and everyday life, the political and the personal. After a 14-year career that has defined the word "uncompromising", THE COUP return armed with bigger funk and taller tales.

Backed by a stellar band that includes Audioslave’s Tom Morello, Dwayne Wiggins, and veterans of Parliament-Funkadelic, the Gap Band, Toni! Tony! Toné!, Jesse Johnson, and Frankie Beverly and Maze, the sound is a little edgier on this record and the beats a little faster. THE COUP's uniquely bent grooves point to "Dirty Mind"-era Prince, late-80s Too Short, and the trunk-rattling hyphy sonics of the New Bay movement. Featuring guest vocals by Talib Kweli, The Roots' Black Thought, as well as a cameo by punk icon Jello Biafra, Pick A Bigger Weapon is the most ambitious album of THE COUP's career.

Fans and followers of THE COUP have been anxiously awaiting a new record from the band. Their last album, the critically acclaimed Party Music, was scheduled for release shortly after 9/11, but became a cultural flashpoint amidst Cheney-Ashcroft hysteria. The album’s original cover (completed three months prior to 9/11) depicted the crew setting off an explosion in the World Trade Center using a guitar tuner and drumsticks. The band's label, 75 Ark, pulled the cover immediately after the attacks.

"As far as the record industry was concerned, it was the end of my career," Boots says. Instead, Boots’ defiant refusal to "ride the fence" and the album's undeniable funk made it an underdog favorite. The album hit #8 in the 2001 Pazz and Jop Poll, the most important year-end critic's list.

In 2003, THE COUP joined with Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Tom Morello, and Janeane Garofalo, on the barnstorming, Bush-slapping "Tell Us the Truth" tour. Working with those artists proved influential on Pick A Bigger Weapon. "This album took a bit longer, because all of these influences were getting a chance to settle," says Boots.

"I always think my next album is gonna be my last," Boots laughs, "like it may not sell and I'll have to do something else. So it drives me to make an album that people might remember as the best one I did."