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Artist: The Coup
Album: Steal This Album
Label: Dogday
Production: Boots Riley, Pam The Funkstress, Edifice, Brother K.
Guests: E-Roc, F.T.S., Del tha Funky Homosapien.
Stats: 1998; 14 tracks at 59mins 08secs
Reviewed by: Eitan Prince

Hip Hop needs The Coup. At a stage when the quality quotient in rap music is fading, The Coup delivers an aural package, complete with a message and attitiude, that is both refreshing and challenging. While essentially an underground outfit, The Coup succeed in shedding the pretentious 'backpacker' image and proffer instead music that should appeal to any Hip Hop listener.

Coup lyricist, Boots Riley excells on this album and illustrates his improvement behind the chrome microphone without being ostentatious. He thoughtfully presents lyrics that address wide-ranging topics, while successfully relating all of these to the experience of working class Black youth. 'Me and Jesus The Pimp ...' for instance, explores the viciousness of a society plagued by pimp-prostitute-like relationships. In a first-class display of storytelling, Boots assumes the first person narrator as he takes revenge on the pimp 'Jesus' for the murder of his prostitute mother. 'Breathing Apparatus' serves as a clever attack on hospitals that refuse treatment to patients, who have 'lost their will to pay'. The tracks 'The Repo Man Sings For You' and 'Underdogs' in combination epitomise The Coup's ingenuity. The former satirically documents the harshness of 'repossession' on the underclass, while 'Underdogs' assumes a more somber tone summing up the misery, sorrow and senselessness of a financially, socially and racially challenged existence.

Through all of this overlying seriousness, The Coup lose neither their humour nor euphony, as they move from the comic 'Cars and shoes' to the provokingly, funky 'Piss On Your Grave'. In its entirety, "Steal This Album" is lyrically consistent, although the different production styles may not have everyone's head nodding. The preponderance of live instruments won't satisfy the appetite of sample boffins, but on this album there really is nothing wrong with the creative incorporation of live instrumentation.

STANDOUT TRACKS: Underdogs, Me And Jesus The Pimp In A '79 Granada Last Night, The Repo Man Sings For You.
RECOMMENDED? Must buy, steal or borrow! In fact they deserve the money - go get it. [8.5/10]

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