The Coup
Party Music
(75 Ark)

For the most part, radical hiphop has a long history of incredible politics and lyrics gilded with ethics and passion, but a big gaping dearth of old-fashioned, dance floor-quaking booty-shakers. The Coup, being one of the smartest groups in hiphop, recognized this as a problem and set out to make Party Music--a funkier-than-ever dance record with Pam the Funkstress scratching mightily behind Boots' smooth-voiced exaction of rebellion and rights.

Ultimately, it results in a more effective message; The Coup's revolution is a HIPHOP PARTY--with some of the best production in the underground since the early '90s--and you'll feel like a chump if you're not there. The opening track, "Everythang," promises as much, with a chorus of men singing "Everybody throw your lighters up/Tell me y'all finna fight or what?/Everybody get your shit started/ This is y'all motherfuckin' party!" behind a taut syncopation of scratching, huge bass, and a sequence of futuristic keyboard tones to enhance the beat.

As usual, there's no element of cynicism, even when the thick disco pours out through lyrics about "5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO," or when the beats kick out like fists while Boots proclaims, "This beat is joyful like jailbreaks/The whole world is Anti-United-SnakesTake a look around and be for or against/But you cain't do shit if you ridin' the fence." The chorus on my favorite track, "Pork and Beef," is sung with a melody that mocks Warren G: "If you got beef with the c-o-ps/Throw a molotov at the p-i-gs/Cuz they be harrassin' you and me/ You got to understand that we still not free."

And if you're wondering, this is the reason the Mercury writes about The Coup every six seconds--their ability to blend an important message with pure love for a tune that will get our butts on the dance floor. Party Music exemplifies this more than any other Coup record; Boots' production is hot, and his lyrics are more concise than they've ever been. I feel like it's my civic duty to never take this record off my stereo.