The Coup's Personal Politics

The Coup's Personal Politics
The Coup got some unexpected notoriety after the cover of their fourth album, Party Music — which featured the duo of Boots Riley and DJ Pam blowing up the World Trade Center with a mock detonator — had the ill-timed misfortune of coming out weeks before September 11, 2001. Yet Boots has since found a silver lining: "The controversy allowed me to talk to media outlets and speak out against the bombing of Afghanistan.” Unfortunately, it also brought expectations for Boots to discuss world issues ever since. "It took me some time to realise that’s bullshit,” he admits. "I know how to write what I need to write. I’m actually doing more good by relating my own experiences because everyone has something in there they can relate to.”

Nearly five years later, personal and political struggles collide once again on the Coup’s Pick a Bigger Weapon. "I’m talking about everyday hustles to survive and trying to make that connection to the larger system,” Boots says of the album. "What I found is if I just talk about myself, my opinions and ideas about the world are going to come out.”

Good news: Pick a Bigger Weapon is the Coup’s most personal release to date. "A lot of the stories on this album come from my experiences,” reveals Boots. "‘Tiffany Hall’ is a real story. My girlfriend did turn to me and say, ‘Baby, let’s have a baby before Bush does something crazy.’ I didn’t answer her, I just said, ‘Hey, there’s a song.’” With a hint of embarrassment he adds, "But we did just have a baby.”

Coating his political ideas in relatable tales, Boots has made his message an easier pill to swallow, thereby beating all expectations for Pick a Bigger Weapon with a natural merging of issues over a soulful funk groove.