The Coup

Genocide & Juice

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A subtler and more fully realized effort than the debut, Genocide & Juice finds the Coup truly coming into their own, refining their mix of revolutionary politics and easy-rolling funk into some of the best political hip-hop ever put to wax. The main difference here is a richly developed cast of characters, as Boots and E-Roc put human faces on their beliefs, and paint sympathetic portraits of working-class African-Americans struggling to make ends meet any way they can, often stuck with little education and fewer options. Socialist ideology is rarely far from the surface, but because of the way it's presented, it seems just as logical in context as opposing racism. The opening three songs are intertwined together, and mark a quantum leap in the group's sophistication. "Fat Cats, Bigga Fish" introduces a small-time hustler scraping together a living; along with his cousin, he infiltrates a party for corporate fat cats, who happen to enjoy imitating rappers, and drop freestyles about their abuses of power on the screamingly funny "Pimps." Finally, on "Takin' These," the two hustlers rob the party blind, Robin Hood-style, chanting a chorus lifted from Lady and the Tramp's "The Siamese Cat Song." Just in itself, that trio is a tour de force, displaying a sharp satirical instinct that's rare in any form. Although there are a few missteps, the remainder of the album is more consistent than Kill My Landlord, which fell prey to some sleepy beats at times. "The Name Game" makes the point that a few famous rappers don't amount to much when there's no broad economic base to help average African-Americans improve their lives. Another highlight is "Repo Man," a bitter yet catchy complaint that's not just about the villainous title character, but also the circumstances that make him necessary. All in all, Genocide & Juice is an enormously sophisticated work that the Coup would only go on to better the next time out.

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