6 December 2016, No. 220, The Coup, ‘The Guillotine’

It ought to rumble the rooftops to rubble, but I can’t allow that from a humble JJC mixtape, so “The Guillotine” from The Coup at No. 220 can’t decide how loud it wants to be. I turn it up 1.3 dB in the mix, and that’s too much. Down to 0.7 dB over zero, but that seems too quiet (we’ve got 6 dB of headroom in the master, lest you think I’m just clipping and/or compressing everything). Anyway, I think I left it too quiet.

It doesn’t matter if it’s too quiet in comparison to the rest of the mixtape or even just the preceding song; the lyrical content is loud even in the confines of my text-only review. This is the voice of the popular vote, the masses, the hoi polloi hollering now louder than ever, “look in the sky, wait for missiles to show / It’s finna blow / ’Cause they got the TV; we got the truth / They own the judges, and we got the proof / We got hella people; they got helicopters / They got the bombs, and we got the guillotine / You better run.”

I appreciate the sentiment, but I can’t decide if pitting hella people and the guillotine against helicopters and bombs is inspiring or insipid. I lean toward inspiring, but the grownup in me wants to identify with my father telling my 12-year-old self to quit wasting my time with The Anarchist Cookbook.

On another grownup [read: nerd!] note, there’s maybe some interesting etymological work to be done on finna, fixing to, and fit to. One could start with “The History of Be Fixing To: Grammaticization, Sociolinguistic Distribution, and Emerging Literary Spaces” (Smith, 2009). One could, but I won’t. I’m much more interested in whether the backlash against the incipient (and totally insipid) supreme leadership will precipitate a class war, as forecast here by The Coup. Time to oil up l’old machine?

“Hey you, we got your war / We’re at the gates; we’re at your door.”


Powell, W. (1989). The anarchist cookbook. Secaucus, NJ: Barricade Books.

Smith, K. A. (2009). The history of be fixing to: Grammaticization, sociolinguistic distribution, and emerging literary spaces. English Today, 25(1), 12–18. doi:10.1017/S0266078409000030