The Coup – Fat Cats, Bigga Fish

the-coup-fat-cats-bigga-fish-back-n-the-day-buffet1The Coup released their single “Fat Cats, Bigga Fish”  back in 1994.  The track was released on their second studio album “Genocide & Juice” that was released on Wild Pitch Records.  The crew consists of Boots Riley, E-Roc and DJ Pam the Funkstress and they all hail from Oakland California.  This track and album was produced by Boots Riley himself.

When we think of Oakland, we think of Too Short, Digital Underground and MC Hammer.  At the same time we know that the Black Panther Party started in Oakland and MC’s like Paris and 2Pac where controversial figures there.  But no one ever remembers or gives props to Boots Riley and The Coup.  There was a time where there was a message in the music and this track does just that!

The track musically and sonically are as perfect and perfect for each other.  The tracks opens with a vocal sample (of all things) of “Mowgli meeting Baloo” from the Jungle Book.  The track then brings you in immediately with a drum beat and guitar sample from “The Rub” by George and Gwen McCrae.  The track is as groovy as they come, and I can’t remember the last time I used the word groovy!

The lyrics tell a story about rags to riches and the struggle to hustle day in and day out. He get’s up in the morning, takes the bus with a stolen bus pass and even gets free lunch from an ugly girl he flirts with but really doesn’t like.  He ends up at a high society party serving drinks and horderves to see who he can swindle.  He finds out that they are flipping low income housing into expensive condominiums, and realizes that sometimes its better not to know since the hustler and easily be hustled.  It’s easily one of the greatest stories told in Hip Hop History.

If you get a chance, check out the album “Genocide & Juice”.  With tracks like “Pimps“, “Taking These” and “Repo Man“, you can’t go wrong!

[Hook]
Get down, get down, get down

[Verse 1 – Boots Riley]
It’s almost 10 o’clock, see, I gotta ball of lint for property
So I slip my beanie on sloppily
And promenade out to take up a collection
I got game like I read the directions
I’m wishing that I had an automobile
As I feel the cold wind rush past
But let me state that I’m a hustler for real
So you know I got the stolen bus pass
Just as the bus pulls up and I step to the rear
This old lady look like she drank a 40 of fear
I see my old-school partner, said his brother got popped
Pay my respects, “can you ring the bell? We came to my stop”
The street light reflects off the piss on the ground
Which reflects off the hamburger sign as it turns round
Which reflects off the chrome of the BMW
Which reflects off the fact that I am broke
Now what the fuck is new?
I need loot, I spot the motherfucka in the tweed suit
And I’m in his ass quicker than a kick from a greased boot
Eased up slow and discreet
Could tell he was suspicious by the way he slid his feet
Didn’t want to fuck up the come-up
So I smiled with my eyes said “hey, how’s it hanging guy?”
Bumped into his shoulder, but he passed with no reaction
Damn this motherfucka had hella Andrew Jacksons!
I’m a thief, or pickpocket – give a fuck what you call it
Used to call em “fat cats”, now I just call them wallets
Getting Federal: ain’t just a clepto
Mastercard or Visa? I gladly accept those
Sneaky motherfucka with a scam, know how to pull it
Got a mirror in my pocket, but that won’t stop no bullets
Story just begun, but you already know
Ain’t no need to get down, shit, I’m already low

[Hook]

[Verse 2]
My footsteps echo in the darkness
My teeth clenched tight like a fist in the cold sharp mist
I look down and I hear my stomach growling
Step to Burger King to attack it like a Shaolin
I never pay for shit that I can get by doing dirt
Link up to the girl cashier and start to flirt
All up in her face and her breath was like murder
Damn, the shit I do for a free hamburger!
(“Well you got my number, you gonna call me tonight?”)
It depends: is them burgers attached to a price?
I’m just kidding, I’mma call, even write you love letters
Thanks for the burgers, um…hook me up with a Dr Pepper
(“That’s cool, you want some ice?”)
Yeah, and some fries would be hella nice
(“Damn my manager’s coming, play it off, okay? ‘Have a nice day!'”)
I’m up outta here anyway

I use peoples before they use me
Cause you could get got by an Uzi over an OZ
That’s what an OG told me
Gots to find someplace warm and cozy to eat the vittles that I just got
Came to an underground parking lot
“This place is good as any, fuck, it’s all good”
Walked in, found a car, hopped and sat up on the hood
Ate my burger, threw back my cola
Somebody said “hey”; it was a rent-a-pig, I thought it was a roller
“Want me to call the cops?” I don’t want them to see me
Looked down and saw that I was sitting on a Lamborghini
It was Rollses, Ferraris and Jags by the dozen
A building door opened; damn, it was my cousin
Getting of of work, dressed up, no lie
Tux, cumberbund and a black bow tie
I was like “hey!” (“Who is it?”) “me”
(“Oh, what’s up man, I just quit this company
They’re hella racist and the pay was too low”)
I said “right, what was up in there though?”
(“A party with rich motherfuckas, I don’t know the situation
I know they got cabbage, owning corporations
IBM, Chrysler and shit is what they said”)
Just then a light bulb went off in my head
“They be thinking all black folks is resembling
Give me your tux and I’ll do some pocket-swindling”
Finna to change in the bathroom and not freeze off my nuts
Lets take a short break while I get into this tux

[Hook]

[Verse 3]
Fresh, dressed like a million bucks
I be the flyest motherfucka in an afro and a tux
My arm is at a right angle, up, silver tray in my hand
“May I interest you in some caviar, ma’am?”
My eyes shoot around the room there and here
Noticing the diamonds in the chandelier
Background Barry Manilow, Copacabana
And a strong-ass scent of stogies from Havana
Wasn’t no place where a brother might’ve been
Snobby old ladies drinking champagne with rich white men
Alright then: let’s begin this
Nights like this is good for business
Five minutes in the mix, noticed several different cliques
Talking, giggling and shit
With, one motherfucka in betwixt
And everybody else jocking him, throttling
Found out later he owns Coca Cola bottling
Talking to a black man who he’s confused
We looking hella-bougie
Ass all tight and seditty
Recognized him as the mayor of my city
Who treats young black men like Frank Nitty
Mr Coke said to Mr Mayor: “you know, we got a process like Ice T’s hair
We put up the funds for your election campaign
And, oh, um, waiter can you bring the champagne?
Our real estate firm says opportunity’s arousing
To make some condos out of low-income housing
Immediately, we need some media heat
To say that gangs run the street and then we bring in the police fleet!
Harass and beat everybody til they look inebriated
When we buy the land, motherfuckas will appreciate it
Don’t worry about the Urban League or Jesse Jackson
My man that owns Marlboro donated a fat sum”

That’s when I stepped back some to contemplate what few know
Sat down, wrestled with my thoughts like a sumo
Ain’t no one player that could beat this lunacy
Ain’t no hustler on the street could do a whole community
This is how deep shit can get
It reads “macaroni” on my birth certificate
“Puddin’-Tane” is my middle name, but I can’t hang
I’m getting hustled only knowing half the game

-Al E.

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