A Beginner's Guide to the Music of Former Student Boots Riley

Thursday, July 19, 2018
SLATE -- Riley, an avowed communist and the son of organizers who met during the San Francisco State University strike of 1968, founded the Oakland-based rap group The Coup in 1991, with local rapper E-Roc and DJ Pam the Funkstress (who died in December), adding several more members after E-Roc’s departure in 1996. Although the group’s output has been infrequent since its 1993 debut, “Kill My Landlord” — with Riley often taking time off to work various jobs, get involved with protest movements or participate in other musical collaborations — its six albums make a bumping soundtrack for protest, with righteous screeds bellowed over soul and funk samples, often with the DJ scratching in rhymes from forerunners like the Last Poets, Ice Cube and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.