The Coup: I Ain’t the N—- (Orig. Mix)
From EP (Polemic, 1991)

The Coup: Dig It! (Remix)
From 12″ (Wild Pitch, 1993)

The Coup: F— a Perm (LP Mix)
From Kill My Landlord (Wild Pitch, 1993)

The Coup: Takin’ These (Remix)
From 12″ (Wild Pitch, 1994)

First of all, along with Ghostface’s Fishscale, The Coup’s new Pick a Bigger Weapon is one of the best rap albums I’ve heard in 2006 and it will definitely make my Top 10 for the year. Buy this album.

Second of all, if it wasn’t for the fact that Boots and Pam take over 4 years to put out albums, I’d probably remember more often that The Coup are one of my favorite rap groups ever and I came to the realization the other day: they’re also one of the most consistent musical acts I know of. Seriously, five albums, not a dud in the bunch even if one can nitpick small issues. Even Jay-Z, De La Soul and the Wu have dropped lackluster CDs…the only other group with as good a track record as The Coup is probably Outkast so that means Boots and Pam are in great company.

Third, Buy this album. Just in case you didn’t hear me the first time.

Fourth, has a seriously awesome two-part interview with Boots up right now. Here’s Part 1, Part 2 coming soon.

Fifth, I wanted to hit ya’ll with some of my favorite Coup tracks from the early part of their career, back when I was first discovering them. The first is off the group’s very first release, a 1991 EP that had about four/five songs on it. A few of them ended up on the Kill My Landlord album though, in the case of “I Ain’t the N—-” the original version had a completely different track behind it. The LP version uses “The Message” by Cymande which was actually a great call but this original is an interesting early look, especially with its P-Funk-y track.

“Dig It!” is one of the most underrated examples of lyrical excellence I can think of: in either version (LP or remix) it demonstrates just how talented Boots is as an MC and then-member E-Roc plays off his partner beautifully. I also prefer the remix over the original because of the slicker production, especially those lovely horns that open the song plus the handclaps on the track (The Meters I assume).

There’s an extended mix of “F— A Perm” on the B-side of the “Dig It!” 12″ but I actually prefer the quick hit of the LP version. Just 42 seconds long, it pretty much says all it needs to in affirming Black (hair) pride. Great track too – super slick and funky.

Lastly, like with the remix of “Dig It!” I prefer the remix of “Takin’ These” (which appears on the Genocide and Juice) over the original mix; those guitars are a nice contrast in style and gives the song a smooth layer of melodies to glide on even if the song content is far rougher. Plus, biting the Siamese Cat theme from Lady and The Tramp gets bonus points.

My next Oakland Tribune column (to be run on May 5th) is a review of Pick a Bigger Weapon, plus it explains exactly why I think The Coup are basically one of hip-hop’s best groups ever. Check for it when it drops. In the meantime, buy this album.

Unrelated but I was supposed to tell people when my Darondo piece came out. It’s out in the new issue of Wax Poetics. Enjoy.