Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Sorry to Bother You

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Sorry to Bother You

Article excerpt


The Coup (Epitaph, 2012)


First, a warning: The lyrics on this album feature the usual hip-hop profanity, and there is no edited version. For many that is reason enough to ignore both the album and this review. However, adult listeners who are willing to proceed will find an astounding, multi-layered, and broadly inclusive musical statement that speaks proudly and defiantly for the voiceless of 21 st-century America.

The Coup is founded and led by Boots Riley. Riley spent his teen years obsessed with the British New Wave sound of the 1980s, and there has always been a rock edge to his work. Sorry to Bother You pulls off a rap-rock fusion whose closest precedent would be the 1970s work of George Clinton with his twin bands Parliament and Funkadelic.

But punk rock has happened since then, so The Coup's tempos are a lot faster. In fact, the track "Strange Arithmetic," a piece of hyperactive schoolhouse rock which features the chorus "Teacher, stand up, you need to tell us how to flip this system," is what the Ramones would have sounded like with a better sense of rhythm and a political analysis. …

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