June-September 11, 2001: CD Cover Depicts Scene Much Like 9/11 Attacks on WTC
Cover artwork is designed for a forthcoming CD, which looks eerily like the attack on the World Trade Center that occurs three months later. The CD, Party Music, is the fourth album by a little-known hip-hop group called The Coup, which is known for its political activism. [CNN, 9/13/2001; Washington Post, 5/22/2002]
The intended cover design shows the two members of the group standing in front of the Twin Towers. One of them is pressing a button on a guitar tuner, as if it was a detonator, and two fireballs are exploding from the top floors of the WTC above them. [Village Voice, 11/2/2001] Days after 9/11, Wired magazine comments, If it werent for the super-imposed images of the Oakland, California, hip-hop duo known as The Coup, the scene could pass for a remarkably precise replica of the horrific tragedy that befell New York City on Tuesday morning.
The CD is in fact initially scheduled for release in early September, but at some point before 9/11, it is pushed back two months for release in November. Furthermore, as Wired describes, Timing of the original album printing was disturbingly in sync with real-world events. The printers were set to crank out copies of the fiery World Trade Center image on Tuesday [September 11]
when the label put in a last-minute call, urging them to stop the presses. [Wired News, 9/13/2001]
The groups lead member, Raymond Boots Riley, is described by Kansas City newspaper The Pitch as a confessed communist who has built a career out of making bold political statements. [Pitch, 11/8/2001] Riley later says hed come up with the idea for the CD cover along with his photographer, and theyd finished work on it by the beginning of June.
He says, Any similarities [with 9/11] are totally coincidental, and it was originally supposed to be more of a metaphor for destroying capitalismwhere the music is making capitalist towers blow up. [Stranger, 9/20/2001] A new cover will be designed and used when the CD is eventually released. [Pitch, 11/8/2001] But copies are sent out prior to 9/11 to members of the press and others, and reviews appear in several publications before September 11 that show the original cover artwork of the exploding WTC.