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Interview: The Coup (West Coast Series)
Sunday, May 21, 2006

T: What happened to E-Roc?
B: Genocide and Juice and Steal This Album. He got a job doing longshoremen and before that he was kind of just coming along with me cause he was just my partner. He wasn't really into it. He just kindof wanted to do to see what it was all about. He didn't have a passion for the art. When problems would come from it such as not having no money or the fact that we were all over BET and MTV at the time and we were very recognizable. In a small town like Oakland everybody is stopping you on the street. At that time just going to the store was like talking to twenty or thirty people on your way and you don't want to seem rude or nothing. People like me and him were actually be talking to all those folks and it'd talk a couple hours to run to the store. He was not down with that. He got a job doing longshoremen which payssomething like a hundred and something thousand a year and he already had three kids. So, he was like I gotta do this. Actually the song on Steal This Album that he's on which is Breathing Apparatus. We had recorded it back in like early '96 because at the time we were about to do an album for Geffen. But I wasn't really feeling the record industry and I had quit after Genocide and Juice because we had that album about to blow up and it got taken off the shelves. So, I was kind of depressed about the whole idea of being able to put my work out there.

T: Do you ever try to get him to come back and kick a verse.
B: I talk to him all the time. He's like just not about to do it. I try to get him to show up at shows every now and then but he won't do it. He won't even come to the shows. At times when he almost gonna come to the show he's like "man you better not try to call me up on stage man for real, for real."

T: Whatever happened to Osageyfo?
B: Yeah Osageyfo he's had some mental problems and that's all I really want to say about that. I mean clinical mental problems. I seen him recently and he's looking a lot better. Part of it was he was pretty much like a genius. The style that Mystikal ended up coming out with. He had a long time before. That was just one of his various charaters that he could do. He was just all the time obsecessed with this one song he was working on so long. I think it was called The Wizard of House Nigga OZ. The Mao Mao Rhythm Collective was partly formed to make a management company in order to help him finish his stuff. In all the time I knew him he never finished a song and he kept being obsecessed with this one song and making this perfect album. So, much that he never did it. He had all these plans and almost blueprints drawn and written up about what he was gonna do. Maybe one day he'll do it and it'll be looked upon as one of those masterpieces of artistry that come along every few hundred years. You know sometimes when people go off the deep end your like wow I know it's kind of weird cause all of a sudden you have a friend that's not connected to reality and mental health is a very big issue that doesn't get talked about a lot. We always thought he was a little encentric or whatever but I start to see now how things like that are part of what was developing in him.

T: What did you say the name was of that character?
B: Like when I heard Mystikal come out with that first thing that was a video and hella people heard it. We all called each other and called Osageyfo and was like this dude just came with your style. See man that's why you should of came out. Like the pattern, the flow, the voice and all of that. He just waited to long and somebody stepped up on it. He had a whole bunch of other characters. He made up these intricate stories like his group was called The 10th Planet and the story line was gonna be this and they were going to see the Wizard of House Nigga OZ and it was very interesting and I think he taught me a lot in not getting his stuff done that allows me to avoid those same pitfalls.

T: What happened to The Mao Mao Rhythm Collective?
B: It just dissolved because all of us in it ended up doing our own thing. You know I was the one of the main people in it and the music started taking off and I was always gone and things like that and it just didn't happen.

T: The Coup was one of the first groups to rap on really orchestraed production. What do you think about how it's progressed to today with people like Kanye.
B: I like a lot of his production. I make my music that way because I like it. So, I'm not gonna hate if someone else does something similar but yeah I like Kanye's production. Hopefully that leaves people open to our stuff cause a lot of the critism we would get is that oh our production is too involved and you know that we just need to sample something and loop it and do it DJ Premier style but I was never really feelin that for myself. I like it on other peoples stuff but not on mine.

T: The Coup is a group that has always incorporated the DJ into the music. Was that a decision to make sure that Pam would get a lot of shine.
B: Pam is somebody in the group and it's kind of like if got a guitar player in your group they'll be like let me put a solo on that. Like Dave Matthews got that violin player and he has violin on hella songs way more than average Rock n Roll group. But he plays the violin and he's in the band so he gonna be on there. So, we got Pam and she has to make her statement on the album. It's not that I think Hip-Hop has to have anything.

T: You travel with a band. Are they the same musicians you work with on your production in the studio.
B: Actually yeah the drummer and the guitar player. At some places the band will switch up. So, there's like twenty different musicians that I work with in the studio and then some only live or whatever. So, there's a combination of different musicians. Everybody that I work with now are people that I've been working with for five years at least.

T: Is the cover art from the Party Music album still stinging you today and do you still have copies of the album with that cover.
B: I didn't even know they printed up like my covers of it. That label was going bankrupt. So, somebody that worked there stole them to sell them on E-Bay because the label wasn't paying them. So no I never had any copies.

T: So was it a label head decision to change the cover or was it a talked about decision. Looking back on it would you have still changed it.
B: Naw...I think that cover got publicized and it allowed me to get out there and put out my views on the war and US imperialism and things like that. There would have been no reason to have the same cover at that point.

T: Were there any repercussions?
B: Maybe right afterward people didn't book us because of that. There would be no way for me to know that. I know I've heard stories of buyers who's store managers didn't let them buy the album for their store but there's no way to really measure that because there's no way to know. A lot of right wing writers who wrote a lot of things but those don't feel like repercussions it just sounded like more publicity.

T: Do ya'll still use the same logo of the mother with the baby and the AK?
B: All the time yeah definitely... of a shotgun because that just looked easier and bigger on the profile. It's drawn but it's influenced by photograph of a mother with her baby and an AK.

T: On the new album did you work with more Punk artists since your on Epitaph?
B: Tom Marelo is somebody but I don't think he's Punk or Alternative he's Rock. We did this Tell Us The Truth tour with me, him, Billy Bragg, Steve Earl, Jeanne Garafalo and a few other people. So, I know him through that. Jellobeoffrah we've done a lot of speaking tours together and we have the same engineer and all that. Matter of fact Jello was the first person we approached when we had an EP we were trying to put out. It was like we wouldn't know what we were doing. So, let me give you this list of buyers and he handed us over a list of record stores and buyers. That people in the industry usually would charge thousands of dollars for but he just gave it to us. Those are the two like Rock or Punk and Alternative people. We definitely all share very simiar political ideas and those were things that have been public for a long time already.

T: Since your from the Bay we wanted to get your take on the Hyphy movement.
B: I think it's exciting. I think that it's an out growth of sideshow culture which has been created because they don't give us anything to do. If their going to shut down all the clubs and parties and all that then people are going to make a party where ever their at and the music that has come out of that is really talking about unity. About people coming together and it's not really talking bad about each other. It's like saying we're here and were going to do what we do fuck the police. It's much more of a political statement then other similar movements that it gets compared to like Crunk. This music is displaying the attitude and it's very representative and it's not talking down to anybody and it's not tear the club up. It feels very representative of the vibe that you get which is people wanting to kick it together and have a good time but at the same time it's rebellious like were doing this no matter what the state wants us to do and stating that we got to make our own space.

T: What has the progression of your political stance been since the first album up to now. Like you had a strong communist stance is that still the case.
B: That's very much still the case. I think the main change with me has been figuring out how to relate ideas to people and realizing that artistic need to talk about yourself. For me is the same need to express my ideas. So, I've become more comfortable with talking about my own personal experiences. Where as before it may have been trying to be more objective and talk about the world and ideas and things like that.

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