You have to admit, there is something compelling about a
politically aware rapper with a sense of humor. Boots Riley of
The Coup provides plenty of both in the group’s latest work, Pick
a Bigger Weapon. With DJ Pam the Funkstress behind the
wheels, the group’s got a defining sound and with a little help from
controversial topics the crew is ready to make listeners pay attention.
How can listeners even try to ignore The Coup? Their Party
Music LP’s album cover surely did the trick, with a picture of them
blowing up the World Trade Center. Yes, it was done before 9/11, but
when the planes hit, the album gained a huge buzz. Beats with funkadelic
tendencies pile on as DJ Pam gives bounce to Boots.
Her range allows the listener to feel the strength of electric guitars as they
coincide with the powerful messages. The album’s driven by the vibe of early
90’s West Coast beats, mixing a new G-Funk era with revolutionary rhymes. The
wonderful, driving pianos on “My Favorite Mutiny” allow Talib Kweli, Black
Thought and Boots to rhyme as hard as ever. Talib
and BT aren’t the only guests on the album to take it up a
notch. The LP features members of P-Funk, The Gap Band, Tony, Toni,
Tone and Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave’s Tom Morrello.
Speaking of Rage, the album’s lyrical content is filled with
intense, political messages, much like Zack De La Rocha’s
were. What makes Boots different from other political rappers
out there is his ability to fuse conscious rants with humorous lines and catchy
hooks. Peep the corny yet thought provoking “Head (Of State)” which criticizes Bush
and Sadaam Hussein as well as oil and war, all with a catchy jingle
for a chorus. Or check out “I Love Boosters” which shows love to neighborhood boosters
from all over with a funny tune. Want some satire? Listen to the R&B on “Baby Let’s Have a Baby
Before Bush Do Somethin’ Crazy.”
Overall, the group puts out a valiant effort. Who knows if the revolution will
ever come about, but at least Boots and the gang speak on what
they feel is right and you kind of have to hand it to them for their honesty.
Mix in some funk and humor and you’ve got a nicely packaged message in an
album, but is it too much to take in? Some listeners may turn away due to so
much political talk, but for those interested in the message, it will be a
delight. Some unnecessary skits, a few corny hooks, and some repetitive beats
and it kind of makes you wonder why the album wasn’t a bit shorter. Still, The
Coup show that a new label (Epitaph), and a new year
won’t change them.