Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Steal This Album
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Even though Steal This Album is its third LP, the trio of Boots, E-Roc, and DJ Pam the Funkstress remains one of hip-hop's most underrated bands. Rather than represent the big ballers, the Coup kick it to the other side of... more »
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Even though Steal This Album is its third LP, the trio of Boots, E-Roc, and DJ Pam the Funkstress remains one of hip-hop's most underrated bands. Rather than represent the big ballers, the Coup kick it to the other side of the black community--the proletariat. With most other rappers lost in the paper chase, the Coup expose the capitalist cheddar chase for the hustle it is and promote politics beyond mere polemics. Merging their message with intricately funky music, they are artists and activists for a new era. The revolution won't be televised, but you can find it recorded on Steal This Album. --Oliver Wang
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This qualifies as my favorite album ever.
NisLaniF | Los Angeles, CA | 10/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boots Riley whom I've had the pleasure of meeting and even holding discussions/interviews with on the phone first piqued my intrigue in the early nineties with his first major L.P. release, "Kill my landlord". I was an eccentric teen very well versed for my age in African and African American studies, mad that people didn't like my hair (afro in the Bahamas? it's 100 degrees!!) A video pops up out of nowhere: "Not Yet Free". There was this cat who looked just like me. Not to mention that I was an emcee then (and now) and originally from Cali. I immediately found the CD upon my next travel to the U.S. (which was very difficult. Boots was not on a major label with a ton of money then) and studied the CD intently. He had dropped a very intense thinking man's CD that surpasses the grit and content of even Public Enemy or even his collegues in The Instigators (Dead Prez, whom I DON'T like). Needless to say, I went on to college, and he dropped a second album also available on this site I'm so happy to say: Genocide and Juice ("How do the levels sound to you?" he asked me when I called his house and it actually was the right number). Boots cares about his fans and will politic with you if he has the time. He often times will. That second album picked up exactly where the first left off, but it was his third album: "Steal This Album" that totally mesmerized me. It came out my first year in Law School. Up to this point, I maintained that I did not understand him fully until AFTER getting a BA in Sociology. Meanwhile this man has not been to college, and likely knows more about sociology than I ever will...This album moreso than any of the other three is both a textbook and a SLAMMIN' DISC! He does all his own beats along with his partner Pam the Funkstress (his DJ). The Shipment has the classic saying that is on the back of the T-Shirts: "We slang rocks, but Palestinian style!" Which touched me close to my heart because a Bahamian will pick up a rock before he ever will pick up a gun. Also, it speaks to the revolutionary spirit of thought to which he subscribes. "Me and Jesus the Pimp" makes me view him as one of the best "Story Rap" artists ever along with Outkast and Slick Rick and Dana Dane. Granted, the song is long, but it just jams. You can peep his video on certain sites on the net, but never on TV for some reason. It is a heart wrenching story, but not the biggest tear jerker you will hear on the album. More on that in a minute.
Breathing Aparatus is a hilarious rendition about classism in this Caste system we call america. "You know I'm uninsured up in this Beeyiyatch!/My medical plan was to NOT get shot!" and is also an attack at the fiscally driven healthcare system in the United States. It is this song that has the deepest line in it: "Recognize sperm, 'cause your brain is the maternity/Conception through your ear, now my game lasts through eternity" speaking as to the imparting of knowledge. Then we get to "Underdogs"...
Underdogs is the most gut wrenching song I have ever heard. Not even listening to Sade, Nora Jones, and Sarah Mclaughlin could depress someone further. R.E.M.s "Low" couldn't touch it. This song talks about the cyclical function of a capitalist system which REQUIRES a socio-racioeconomic underclass in order to function "properly". He tells the story of this underclass in such poetic form that you have to cry just like the lady at the beginning of the song "I CAN'T TAKE THIS SH*T NO MORE!" You HAVE to get this album. If you read this far in this review, you have to hear the album. The beat on this song alone with the band of snares is reason enough. Not to mention the hilarity of the song "Cars and Shoes" talking about the truth of trying to have a car in the hood with no money and going to car auctions (which this writer knows a lot about from his broke Law School days at 'SC while living down in the LBC...) Hopefully, those days are behind me, and I can help those for whom they are not. Thanks Boots."
This is hip-hop
needstobuyabike | Chicago, IL USA | 12/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If this listing was for the single of Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night, the price would still be a bargain. Luckily for both reviewer and reader, there is much more to this album than that cut. There has been a long history of commercial critique in hip-hop that is normally overwhelmed by rather bland rappers seeking scrilla. From time to time more conscious tracks and rappers come to the forefront. Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, Whodini and others achieved commercial success with singles focusing on social issues. Steal This Album tackles more topics than Warren Sapp does top picks. In a just world The Coup would be in that group. In a just world though, The Coup wouldn't have had to make this album. When Adolf Eichmann was convicted in 1961 for his role in the genocide against Jews, Sinti, Romani and others, he spoke this in defense:I understand the demand for atonement for the crimes which were perpetrated against the Jews. The witnesses' statements here in the Court made my limbs go numb once again, just as they went numb when once, acting on orders, I had to look at the atrocities. It was my misfortune to become entangled in these atrocities. But these misdeeds did not happen according to my wishes.On The Repo Man Sings for You (feat. Del the Funkee Homosapien), The Coup have a look at this type of moral rejection of responsibility for one's actions. The differences between a Repo Man and Eichmann are only in scale and in details as is made clear in different words on this track. Boots isn't misguided though in his indictment of the Repo, he sees as well the hand behind it, "Banks that give the loan figure - damn, in the worst case we makin money cause we had it in the first place".
This album is full of similarly incisive critiques of a variety of life's rigged trials. Whether discussing relative pride and arbitrary assumptions of superiority (Cars & Shoes), the po-po's effect on the respiratory system (Breathing Apparatus), or having a nostalgic look at how a poor kid got into shows (Sneakin' In), Steal This Album provides a listening experience like few, if any albums can. The production on the album is some of the best of the 1990's. A good portion of it is derived from funk but it is unique throughout. The production gives proper time for some serious scratchin' as well. Some excellent bass and guitar lines fill out the drums, horns, and whatever else has been laid down on the beat. This album is not without moments of brevity though. Piss On Your Grave is kind of a guilty indulgence for the revolutionary who has always wanted to step on Washington's grave and lets loose with bodily waste. There are so many exceptional tracks on this album it is absurd to me that one can actually stick out as the best. Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night is THE track on the album. If there is another cut in hip-hop that is better by any margin worth noting, I have yet to hear it. Tearing down whatever idea is behind Pimp Chic, Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night describes pimping from the perspective of a nine-year-old son of a prostitute. Even beyond having a rhyme scheme that is über-fresh, this track exemplifies the unification of art and message. There is no abstract nicety nor didactic lecture to be found here. Instead one finds a piece of art with a message woven intricately into it. One doesn't have to sympathize with The Coup's Marxist philosophy to be moved by this track. This is as good as it gets."
Music for the masses - this time for real
firstname.lastname@example.org | U.S.A. | 04/22/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a well-known, long-suffered feature of popular music: the tradition of presenting artists as democratic and "of the people" when they're often merely appealing to the lowest common denominator. The Coup puts substance into this practice and manage to present a truthful, pointed perspective while also offering constructive arguments. Oh, yes, they're funky, too, with every track featuring a live band - with the fat, elastic bass and use of harmonica that signify the Oakland funk sound - and DJ Pam the Funkstress' incisive scratching. It's not a perfect album - a couple of songs drone on with no change in the music or the vocal delivery - but when it hits, it's hard. Boots Riley calls himself a Communist in one tune (the paranoid-but-realistic "Breathing Apparatus"), but he really comes across as a defender of grassroots, community-based governance and business as a necessary foil to the evils he sees perpetrated by our modern, corporate-conglomerate economy and society. Where a band like Public Enemy would rap lofty sentiments from a more theoretical perspective, Boots tells his own story brutally, frankly, and intelligently, and I think that means more."