Boots Riley, The Coup's admired, outspoken MC, has just been announced as the keynote speaker at UC Berkeley's Black Graduation Ceremony, slated for Saturday May 12th. The Oakland, CA-based Riley, who has been involved in political activism and hip/hop in the Bay Area since the age of 15, is the driving force behind the group's thought provoking Epitaph album Pick A Bigger Weapon. Released in April 2006, the disc landed at or near the top of a number of critic's recent year-end lists.
The Associated Press (#1), Rolling Stone (Top 50), Murder Dog (#2), The Chicago Tribune (#7), The Salt Lake Tribune (#4), The Onion AV Club (#8), and The Washington Post (#9) bestowed their approval, with The Eastbay Express curiously dubbing it the 'most wrathful rock album' of 2006.
Touted as 'the best hip-hop act of the last decade' by Billboard, outlets as diverse as the New Yorker (The Coup remains one of the rap world's great resources fearless, fierce and funny as hell and the new album is a potent combination of leftist politics, revolutionary humanitarianism, and triumphant funk) and Elle (a record that's hilarious, righteously angry, and highly danceable) have been long on praise for the incendiary group's fifth album.
At the top of its game, The Coup has delivered a genre classic with Pick A Bigger Weapon. Lauded for its sublime, lyrical blend of personal, political and sensual rhymes set to the beat of some of the finest digi-funk since Prince and P-Funk, the album has been called 'their best yet' by a diverse array of publications, including Entertainment Weekly, USA Today and XLR8R. Additionally, rave reviews have come from the likes of Pitchforkmedia.com, XXL, Billboard, Filter,, The Village Voice, URB and many others.
[The Coup] make their intentions of overthrowing the government and partying righteously while they're doing it clear to any dance floor that will have them, Style Weekly wrote. 'This is an unflinching musical manifesto of socialist intent.'
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone asserted, 'Riley's rhymes work so well because they're more about real life than rhetoric, calling Pick A Bigger Weapon 'the rare record that makes revolution sound like hot fun on a Saturday night.' But perhaps The Onion said it best: 'Boots fuses sexuality and celebration with naked politics just as seamlessly as he combines irreverent humor and heartwarming humanism.'