May 18, 2006


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The Coup, Pick a Bigger Weapon
Epitaph, 2006

“I’m a walking contradiction/Like bullets and love,” MC Boots Riley claims on “Bullets and Love,” the opening song to The Coup’s latest release, Pick a Bigger Weapon. Riley and DJ Pam the Funktress make up the politically outspoken rap duo, The Coup.

The Coup’s militant form of hip-hop harkens back to rap’s early days of Public Enemy with traces of Parliament/Funkadelic, yet Riley’s rhymes are delivered in a far more relaxed, conversational tone than Chuck D’s drill sergeant bark. “I’m here to laugh, love, f--- and drink liquor/And help the damn revolution come quicker,” Riley announces on “Laugh/Love/F---,” and the song’s loose, lazy guitar notes and bouncy bass give the song a pop appeal.

Though Riley’s socialist call-to-arms stance is ultra-serious, he keeps a healthy sense of humor intact as on the hilarious “Head (Of State),” which uses that old sitting-an-a-tree playground taunt to the tune of “Bush and Hussein together in bed.”

Throughout Pick a Bigger Weapon the Coup is joined by various comrades in arms ranging from Talib Kweli and Silk E. to Jello Biafra and Audioslave’s Tom Morello (for a stellar guitar solo, of course). The result is an excellent album of renegade rhythms that, like the Clash’s London Calling, knows no musical boundaries. “It ain’t an earthquake,” Riley states at one point, “We just need a new equation.” Consider Pick a Bigger Weapon an integral part of that equation. A-

— Adam Marletta

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