The Coup were one of the most overtly political bands in rap history. Formed in the early '90s, the Coup were obviously influenced by the black power rhetoric of "conscious" rappers like Public Enemy and KRS-One, but they were perhaps even more inspired by a heavy-duty, leftist reading list that included Marx and Mao. Lead rapper/producer Boots (born Raymond Riley) was involved in political activism long before he was a musician; his fervent dedication to social change was the overriding influence on every Coup album. Second rapper E-Roc and DJ Pam the Funkstress rounded out the trio. Released in 1993, the Coup's debut album, Kill My Landlord, was a highly charged blend of leftist resistance and '70s funk. If it had been released a mere four or five years earlier, the highly politicized Kill My Landlord might have gained the Coup nationwide notoriety and platinum album sales. As it was, gangsta rap was all the rage, and Kill My Landlord achieved only moderate sales but nearly unanimous critical acclaim. A year later, the Coup's follow-up, Genocide & Juice, continued their agenda of sociopolitical insubordination. Not surprisingly, the Coup again received more support from critics than the record buying public. The next several years saw the Coup go through career-threatening changes. They ended their association with their label, Wild Pitch, and suspended their activity as a band. With the band dormant, Boots went to work for a shipping company but continued his political activism. Among other endeavors, he headed the Young Comrades, a group of social activists whose activities included storming the Oakland City Council. Boots' rap partner, E-Roc, left the group, and Pam continued her DJing. In 1998, the Coup, now a duo of Boots and Pam, resurfaced on the Bay Area independent label Dogday. The result: Steal This Album. Party Music, the Coup's fourth studio effort, was issued in November 2001. Pick a Bigger Weapon followed in April 2006. ~ Mtume SalaamPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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