Sorry To Bother You The Coup

Album info



Label: Anti/Epitaph

Genre: Hip Hop

Subgenre: Alternative Rap

Artist: The Coup

Album including Album cover


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  • 1The Magic Clap03:13
  • 2Strange Arithmetic04:05
  • 3Your Parents' Cocaine02:33
  • 4The Gods of Science03:07
  • 5My Murder, My Love03:33
  • 6You Are Not A Riot03:15
  • 7Land of 7 Billion Dances03:15
  • 8Violet04:34
  • 9This Year04:05
  • 10We've Got A Lot To Teach You, Cassius Green04:42
  • 11Long Island Iced Tea, Neat02:05
  • 12The Guillotine04:42
  • 13WAVIP03:07
  • Total Runtime46:16

Info for Sorry To Bother You

The Coup's sixth album. Two decades since their first LP, The Coup return from a six year break with this album which was held back a year so lead member Boots Riley could concentrate on being a key organizer of Occupy Oakland.

Although they’ve had plenty to complain about since they put out 2006’s “Pick a Bigger Weapon,” the rabble-rousing act The Coup is just now getting around to its follow-up, “Sorry to Bother You.”

The new release is no apology. Frontman rapper/activist Boots Riley, who has been busy in the Occupy movement, is calling for a revolution as loudly as ever in the band’s 20-year history.

Fittingly, “Sorry to Bother You’s” frenetic sound has a decided punk edge, though it alternates from feeling like a pep rally to a poetry slam to a rock show to a dance club to an experimental theater production — all with a hip-hop/R&B foundation and rare moments of overreaching.

And as riveting as the sound is, the music is outsmarted by Riley’s lyrics — radical, uncompromising and yet often funny.

His demands for socio-economic equality go from the fight-back message of opener “The Magic Clap” (“This is the last kiss Martin ever gave to Coretta”) to the more pointed point of closer “WAVIP” (which stands for “we’re all VIP” and includes the line, “We gon’ riot, loot, rob till we rich as Rockefeller”).

It’s often droll — as when a disco arrangement frames Riley’s call for a neo-French Revolution on “The Guillotine” with the chant, “We got the guillotine, you better run!” Also, in the slow-burning rock of “My Murder, My Love,” he declares, “Let me clarify things with the way I strut so I can shout with my mouth shut.” “Sorry to Bother You” is even sentimental in the semi-chamber-pop melancholy of “Violet.”

However, the laughs and the melodies might not resonate with listeners as much as the serious stuff like “Strange Arithmetic,” which notes, “In mathematics, dead children don’t get added/But they count the cost of bullets comin’ out the automatic.” Or the militaristic “Land of 7 Billion Dances”: “Paycheck cut can’t stop the bleeding/Sharks are feeding/We ain’t eating/No more pleading/Time for stampeding.” (Chuck Campbell,

Boots Riley, vocals
Pam The Funkstress, scratches
Silk-E, vocals
B'nai Rebelfront, guitar
J.J. Jungle, bass
Hassan Hurd, drums
LJ, organ & keyboards

Born in Chicago and raised in East Oakland's Funktown neighborhood, Boots became a teenage community organizer, but later switched from a clipboard to the microphone, forming the Coup with rapper E-Roc. Pam the Funkstress, the first female DJ star in the famously competitive Bay Area turntablist scene, later signed on.

As a producer and lyricist, Boots Riley has crafted critically acclaimed albums for The Coup that have graced the year-end Top 10 lists of Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and more. They have also received "Album of the Year" honors from The Washington Post, Time Out New York, while Billboard Magazine declared the group "the best hip-hop act of the past decade." Born in Chicago and raised in East Oakland's Funktown neighborhood, Boots became a teenage community organizer. From his history of student organizing in Oakland's public schools, serving on the central committee for the Progressive Labor Party, being the President of Youth InCar (Youth International Committee Against Racism), organizing to build California's Anti-Racist Farm Workers' Union, to developing "guerrilla hip hop concerts" (mobile concerts on flatbed trucks), Boots Riley has been an integral part of the progressive struggle for radical change through culture.

The Coup's 1991 self-distributed EP landed them a deal with Wild Pitch Records. Two singles, "Dig It" and "Not Yet Free", cracked BET and national black radio. Their debut, 1993's Kill My Landlord, went on to wide acclaim. The next year, Genocide and Juice shot up the charts, but stalled when EMI absorbed Wild Pitch. E-Roc then left the group.

1998's Steal This Album, released by indie label Dogday Records, was received as a masterpiece and sealed the Coup's rep. But the band's next record, Party Music, scheduled for release shortly after 9/11, became a cultural flashpoint amidst Cheney-Ashcroft hysteria. The album's original cover (completed three months prior to 9/11) depicted the crew setting off an explosion in the World Trade Center using a guitar tuner and drumsticks. The band's label, 75 Ark, pulled the cover immediately after the attacks.

"As far as the record industry was concerned, it was the end of my career," Boots says. Instead, Boots' defiant refusal to "ride the fence" and the album's undeniable funk made it an underdog favorite. The album hit #8 in the 2001 Pazz and Jop Poll, the most important year-end critic's list.

At the same time, Boots visited South Africa's World Conference Against Racism with the Black August hip-hop tour, where he distributed tens of thousands free cassettes of music in the Oakland community, what he calls "newspapers on tape". He also founded Shoyoass Words, Sounds, & Pictures, a record and media company specializing in music and art that he calls "relevant to social change."

In 2003, the Coup joined with Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Tom Morello, and Janeane Garofalo, on the barnstorming, Bush-slapping "Tell Us the Truth" tour. Working with those artists proved influential on Pick A Bigger Weapon. "This album took a bit longer, because all of these influences were getting a chance to settle," says Boots, also citing the Clash's "Bankrobber" as another substantial influence.

The record achieves a musical and thematic unity. "I like albums like Songs in the Key of Life, Death Certificate, Beatles albums," says Boots. "I like feeling like I'm getting a presentation, rather than a bunch of Polaroids of people in the studio on a certain day."

Boots just finished touring North America fronting Street Sweeper Social Club, a band where he Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave) joined forces. This tour took them across North America playing arenas with Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction. Their debut album, Street Sweeper Social Club debuted at #37 on Billboard and has been receiving continual spins on major market alternative rock and hip hop stations around the country, including Chicago, Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

This album contains no booklet.

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