Exclusive: Boots Riley Brings a Guillotine to Oz

Indie-hop stalwart Boots Riley plays the Scarecrow in search of a heart — and the power brokers behind the curtain — in the new video for “The Guillotine.” But The Coup‘s frontman is looking for our nation’s heart and power too, as the 2012 general election nears.

“Elections are not an effective model for change,” the Oakland, California-based Riley, who has become one of the Occupy movement‘s most distinct voices, told Wired by e-mail. “None of the progressive changes we’ve had over the last century came from electing the right politician. If you have a militant mass movement that is able to physically stop profits at production and distribution sites, you can make any politician do what you want. Politicians are puppets; we’re going after the puppetmasters.”

The digifunky “Guillotine” video, premiered exclusively above, is a rousing visual template for that process. Set to a track from The Coup’s forthcoming release Sorry to Bother You, the clip merges the stylistic choreography of The Wiz (Motown’s underrated, all-black 1978 reboot of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) with the witchy drama of fantasy novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West and even the French Revolution, which was inspired by the Founding Fathers’ forging of the United States.

“Somehow, they all fit perfectly…”