Creating radical music is a formidable task. It is very simple to create performative pieces which have some semblance of political thought but do very little to actually get the listener to consider their own political ideas.
The Coup, from Oakland, California, have been writing and performing since 1991, and take on this task with a seldom-seen level of expertise. Their politics are unapologetic while putting down undeniable grooves.
Their work is reminiscent of the rock music of Rage Against the Machine and the hip hop of Dead Prez while embodying the political fervour of both. Their most recent album was Sorry to Bother You (2018), a film soundtrack, which shares the name with their 2012 album.
Given the film’s very strong class-conscious themes, they were an obvious choice to write the soundtrack. The Coup’s work is just as relevant when it was written as it is now and deserves to be listened to again and again. Their performance on KEXP is well worth watching to appreciate the gravitas of their work.
To recontextualise a quote on religion, music (and art in general) is the “sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.”
The Coup embodies this power of the capacity of art and music to not only make us think about our political situation in general but also give it the sense of urgency it deserves.