The Coup Party Music

Until a few months ago, the Coup was your average critically acclaimed, socially progressive hip-hop group. However, that all changed after September 11th, and word got out that the original artwork, created months before for the Oakland, CA-based group's fourth album, featured group members MC Boots and DJ Pam, a detonator, and the twin towers of the World Trade Center in the background. Needless to say, the artwork was immediately replaced. The record itself features the Coup doing what they have always done: bringing their incisive social and political critiques over funky backdrops. On Party Music, the music is more refined than ever, with their fuzzy synths and the rolling bass grooves typical associated with West Coast hip-hop, but with atypical lyrical content. MC/activist Boots' laconic drawl sounds off on corrupt executives ("5 Million Ways To Kill A CEO"), an ideal social vision ("Heven Tonite") and actually makes parental advice sound cool ("Wear Clean Draws"). With the uplifting of the working class being a primary aim, "Gotta Get Up," featuring the incendiary Dead Prez, and "Ride The Fence" are self-explanatory in their efforts to raise consciousness. They even go as far to hijack a Snoop Dogg and the Eastsidaz hook on the police critique "Pork and Beef" to get their message across. Even though their message is couched in its most readily accessible flavour yet, DJ Pam the Funkstress's scratch session "Tight" and the "back in the day" vibe of the instantly catchy "Nowalaters" lightens the proceedings. While it's doubtful how it will be received, Party Music confirms the Coup's increasing sophistication in melding music and message. (75 Ark)