Rapper, singer, keyboardist, and songwriter Boots Riley has forever used his anticapitalist rhetoric for the good. Long before 1993 and his band the Coup's left-leaning debut, Kill My Landlord, the Bay Area native was a political activist dedicated to consciousness and change.
Riley's recent direct involvement with the Occupy Oakland movement only sharpened his ideas about how his groove affected the masses.
"It's not as if being hands-on with Occupy changed my perspective as to how I work as an artist," says Riley, who is from Chicago. "I never even thought of myself as an artist per se until like Party Music," Riley says with a laugh, citing his band's 2001 album. "Before that, I was just a guy who played music and got involved with various organizations. The idea of doing music for me was to broaden the message. What working in Occupy did do was change my perspective as to how my music could be used to inspire people." Which it does, big-time, with its call to peaceful revolution and financial equality. "I don't think what I'm talking about is hard for people to get with," he says. "Sometimes the semantics of it all catches people up. What's wrong with the public democratically controlling the wealth?"