The Coup’s Fat Cats, Bigga Fish Made Sense Of The Jungle, Never Goin’ Under (Video)
By the early 1990s, Wild Pitch Records was home to a spectrum of East Coast Hip-Hop luminaries. This included Main Source, Lord Finesse, O.C., The UMC’s, Ultramagnetic MC’s, Chill Rob G, and others. However, the Manhattan-based label also had The Coup.
The Oakland, California then-trio had already struck a chord and a nerve with 1993’s Kill My Landlord. Fueled by calling out oppressors, the LP combined Bay area slang, Funk-based beats, and self-deprecating tones. Although the album missed the charts, it hit the bull’s eye for many Hip-Hop fans. A year and a half later, Genocide And Juice followed. Playing off of Snoop Dogg’s then white-hot single, Boots Riley, DJ Pam The Funkstress, and the final LP with back-up MC E-Roc. With tunes like “Repo Man” and “Hard Concrete,” this album playfully dealt with poverty and police brutality as an extensive of the debut. Spice-1 joined the party, as did a Boots contemporary in E-40.
“Fat Cats, Bigga Fish,” a Genocide… single, showed why this group was able to be substance-based, and yet-entertaining. Over a dance-driven George & Gwen McCrae sample, Boots’ produced and rapped a song that combines parody, storytelling, and great reveals.
Built almost as an homage to Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid In Full,” “Fat Cats…” opens with the narrator revealing all he has in lint in his pockets. Out for a heist, the quick-witted protagonist uses stolen bus passes, flirting with a fast food cashier, and a history of scamming to get over. A simple day-in-the-life gets real, when the character encounters a giant gathering of the city’s officials, including politicians, law enforcement, and corporate executives. Hustling his way into the party, the Charlie Chaplin-esque character reports on the private conversations, and aims to fight against the upper-crust. The allegory gets deeper, as the narrator witnesses the back-room deals, orchestrated to bring down his people. Referencing Slick Rick overtly in the rhyme, and seemingly in the black-and-white video, the ’94 single moves butts and minds at once. Boots laughs at the very truths that could make him cry, and makes an unpretentious, musically-savvy record in doing so. For those who don’t follow Boots’ lyrics and catch the vibes of Pam’s scratching, the video presents the piece in full.
Once a $100+ eBay item, EMI Records reissued Genocide And Juice and much of the Wild Pitch catalog in 2008. Although the group would not crack the Top 200 until 2012 (with Sorry To Bother You), their first three LPs (and truly, entire catalog) continues to remain in focus as political Hip-Hop done right.
Is this song still true today?