As America commemorates the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we cannot help but to remember The Coup, and their controversial album cover that found the political hip-hop group in a messy predicament.
In September of 2001, The Coup planned a symbolic attack against the World Trade Center. And the timing of could not have been more disturbingly in sync with the real-world event.
What you see below was the planned cover art for The Coup’s Party Music album, designed in June 2001. The album cover depicts group member Boots Riley destroying the twin towers of the World Trade Center using a Covert-Labs digital chromatic tuner as a detonator while DJ Pam the Funktress waves two sticks held between her thumbs and forefingers, as if she is “conducting” the proceedings with two batons.
For obvious reasons the album was delayed until November 2001 in order for the cover to be redesigned. But it was too late, a small amount of the original CD covers were already printed and distributed to members of the press. This original version has no barcode and features a street date of 9/4/01. If you have one of these in your possession, it’s considered a collector’s item due to its rarity and powerful imagery.
Group member Boots Riley explained the symbolism behind the cover:
“I came up with the idea with the photographer. We took the pictures on May 15th, and we were done with it by the beginning of June. Any similarities are totally coincidental, and it was originally supposed to be more of a metaphor for destroying capitalism & where the music is making capitalist towers blow up.”
The twin towers themselves were not the target, capitalism was the target. Unfortunately for Boots Riley and DJ Pam the Funkstress, some sick people were planning a similar symbolic attack that would go far beyond a cheesy photo and an album filled with political hip-hop lyrics.
To see the album that caused all the controversy we have it here: The Coup – Party Music