THE COUP - GHETTO MANIFESTO: When Public Enemy began to fade from the scene in the early ‘90s, a void developed in the in the HipHop universe that left the music with very little, if any, political or social awareness or relevance. For a while it looked like Ice Cube would continue where PE left off, but I guess the revolution didn’t pay and he soon returned to his gangsta ways.

While much of the HipHop music that emerged in the ‘90s can be summed up in 2 words, gangsta and jiggy, there were exceptions. Enter the Coup (as in coup d'état), a group hailing from Oakland that bucked the popular trend and took political HipHop to a different level.

The Coup, originally featuring three members, Boots Riley, E Roc and DJ Pam the Funkstress, moved far beyond the red, black and green Black nationalism and 5 Percent teachings that served as the driving principle behind groups like Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers and X-Clan, and incorporated not only pro-Black messages, but also strong socialist, communist, and anti-capitalist philosophies and themes, blending Malcolm and Marx in a funk-filled revolutionary political HipHop stew.

The Coup deserves props for staying the course and creating meaningful, quality music throughout one of the least creative periods in HipHop and continuing to drop hot albums in the new millennium (many people consider their latest release, Party Music, to be the Coup’s best work to date).

They say timing is everything, and since the Coup didn’t appear until the end of the “Pro-Black” HipHop era, they’ll probably never truly get the shine they deserve.

I conceived this piece while listening to the group’s first single, and my favorite, “Dig It,” the first verse of which is featured.

As for the piece itself, E-Roc left the group following the release of the group’s second album and I’m not sure enough about what he looks like to represent him here. I also wanted to incorporate the group’s logo, the Sista holding the baby and the shotgun, one of my favorites, as a dominant element.