Wild Pitch Wednesday: The Coup – Genocide & Juice
Welcome to Wild Pitch Wednesday here at Run Royal where each Wednesday we’ll take a brief look back at one release from Stu Fine’s storied imprint, Wild Pitch Records. Most of Wild Pitch’s catalogue has long been out of print relegating many of the label’s releases to mere footnotes in the annals of rap music, so why not shed a little light and take the time to have a look back at some of the labels classic releases.
The Coup hail from Oakland California and released their second album, Genocide & Juice on Wild Pitch in 1994. There was a radio show that broadcast around my ways back in ’94 called Phat Tape, at the time hosted by DJ’s Katch and Frenzie. Phat Tape introduced me to numerous acts of the era when each sunday night i’d set my cassette to record and then spend the next day at school listening to everything i’d recorded the night before. It was on one of those same tapes i was introduced to The Coup, the track “Pimps” to be exact, which was sandwiched between Keith Murray’s “The Most Beautiful Thing” and Channel Live’s “Down Goes The Devil” (i rewound that tape so many time i still remember the order of tracks around it).
The Coup in 94 consisted of Boots Riley, E-Roc and Pam The Funkstress, E-Roc would leave the group following this album. The album’s title was a play on Snoop Dogg’s popular song “Gin and Juice” (taken from his 1993 debut Doggystyle) and was a pointed commentary on the state decay within the black community at the time, a time when gangsta rap’s largely negative message was dominating not just hip hop but popular culture also. The album’s production – handled by Boots – was definitely “west coastcentric” and indicative of the era, g-funkish with live instrumentation and featuring appearances by fellow Bay Area natives Spice-1 and E-40. I want to highlight tracks 2 and 3 in particular keeping in mind that there’s a whole album of dope lyrics and beats following these two songs. Fat Cats, Bigger Fish plays directly into Pimps and could possibly be the greatest saga hip hop has seen since EPMD introduced us to “Jane”.
Fat Cats kicks off with down on his luck hustler Boots Riley off to pursue another day of hustling, scamming and partaking in just about any scheme that’ll see his pockets grow and those around his lessen. He’ll pick pockets, scam bus tickets, sweet talk a butt-ugly chick for free fast food until he happens upon his cousin, who as luck would have it is throwing in his job waiting on a bunch of wealthy white industrialists. Knowing these well to do devils won’t pick him from his cousin (“they be thinkin all black folks is resemblin”) he swaps outfits and goes in for some “pocket swindling”. Once inside the magnitude of what he stumbles upon is unfathomable, thinking himself the greatest “sneaky motherfucker” he comes to understand the magnitude of the scam these white folk CEO’s are pulling daily on his own people, “i’m gettin hustled only knowin half the game…”
“Fuck naw i aint got no grey poupon” Boots says as he passes another wealthy socialite. Funnily enough this socialite broad is attempting to coax David Rockerfeller into telling her more about this new venture of his called rapping. In his pompous anglophile tone Rockerfeller replies “we have this thing we do with our voices, we sing like authentic rappers” and then agrees to display his new venture providing the orchestra in the background can make the music more funky. After one of the richest men on earth proceeds to break down how they’re actually pimping the entire system and that the common man is the trick, the mic gets passed to Jon Paul Getty, another immensely wealthy industrialist who’s trying his hand at this rapping thing. After a little bit of coaxing and asking the accompanying lady to hold his glass “i have to do those hand gestures”, Getty proceeds to break the systematic corruption down in much the same way David Rockerfeller had done before him… And then Donald Trump shows up, embarrassing both Getty and Rockerfeller by dropping “something i picked up at a property i’ve got down in the carribean”, the group attempts to disperse so they’re not seen in the company of outcast Donald Trump.
Genocide & Juice celebrated 20 years just recently and it hasn’t aged a day in my books. Its actually ahead of its time in the sense that it speaks on many issues that are only beginning to come to light today in 2014. Boots Riley’s storytelling is masterful, he can paint the most vivid and detailed art with his words. I still give it up to Slick Rick and Ice Cube as great story tellers (even Nas) but Boots’ eye for detail is something else, i’m listening to a video clip when he kicks it. Audio video rap! Press play on Fat Cats and then go into Pimps, its one of the greatest and most original narratives in rap music!