Music With A Message: Immortal Technique

Before the presidential race in November 2004, the Immortal Technique song “Bin Laden“, featuring Mos Def and produced by DJ Green Lantern, emerged on Shade 45: Sirius Bizness. However, it took almost half a year until it was officially released on a 12” vinyl single in the summer of 2005. The single also contained a remix of the song featuring hip-hop legends Chuck D of Public Enemy and KRS-One. The song is controversial; it blames the Reagan Doctrine (under which the U.S. provided aid to the mujahideen in Afghanistan) and U.S. president George W. Bush for his administration’s implied liability for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Earlier the same year, Immortal Technique appeared (as himself) in the independent movie This Revolution, which is set during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, and chronicles the protests surrounding the convention in a pseudo-documentary style. The movie also featured Viper Records affiliates Akir and producer/engineer Toure “Southpaw” Harris in smaller speaking roles.

Since then Immortal Technique has been promoted to president and A&R of Viper Records and has signed a distribution deal with Babygrande Records for his next album. He has also made Southpaw the head A&R of Viper Records and executive produced Akir’s Legacy album.

Early 2006, the song “Impeach the President”, featuring dead prez, Saigon, and Immortal Technique, emerged on the DJ Green Lantern mixtape Alive on Arrival. The song is a cover version of the 1973 single by The Honeydrippers, using the original chorus, but it has new verses in which the rappers express their wish that president George W. Bush be impeached.

Who is Immortal Technique?

Immortal Technique (Felipe Coronel) was born February 19, 1978 in a military hospital in South America, Immortal Technique was brought to the United States in the early 80’s while a civil war was breaking out in his native Peru. The US supported puppet democracy and Guerilla factions were locked in a bitter struggle which ended like most do in Latin America, with the military and economic aid of the State Dept. through channels like the CIA. Although he had escaped the belligerent poverty and social turmoil of life in the 3rd world, he was now residing in Harlem which had its own share of drama. Growing up on the streets of New York, the young man became enamored with Hip Hop culture, writing graffiti and starting to rhyme at an early age. Although he frequently cut school and ended up being arrested time and time again for his wild behavior, the kid still managed to finish high school and got accepted to a state university. Unfortunately the survivalist and aggressive attitude that was the norm in New York City caused him to be involved in more violent altercations at school, whether it was with other brothers, false flaggers or the relentlessly racist population of an uncultured Middle America.

Compiling multiple assault charges in New York State and in other states eventually caught up to the uncompromisingly hardheaded actions of one Immortal Technique. He faced several charges for Aggravated Assault in the tri-state area. Realizing his inevitable incarceration, Technique began to prolifically write down his ideas about what he had lived and seen in the struggle back at home in relation to his visits back to his native land. He came to embrace his African roots that stemmed from his grandfather and understood the nature of racism and ignorance in its role in Latino culture, separating oppressed peoples and keeping them divided. He also began to study in depth about the Revolutionary ideas that had caused a history of uprising in the indigenous community of his Native South America. Although pressured to turn states evidence before and during his bid, he refused the DA and lawyers. He was facing a 5-10 stretch, but the hiring of a pittbull attorney helped him compile the cases without turning snitch like his co-defendants. The result was a 1-2 year sentence in the mountains, 6 hours away from the city. There Technique studied, worked out vigorously, began to document his lyrics, and create songs. Besides the creation there was destruction, and the fights were nothing compared to the verbal battles that he engaged in occasionally. This proved to be a foreshadowing of what was to come…

Paroled in 1999, Immortal Technique returned to NYC and began a campaign to claim victory to what he had discovered he had a talent for; battling. One of the rites of passage in establishing oneself in the Hip Hop community is following in the steps of those who made their name in lyrical warfare before you. Immortal Technique quickly became known throughout the underground. His brutally disrespectful style was trademark, and it was not long until he had won countless battles not just on stage and in clubs, but on the streets whenever a random cipher would pop up. From Rocksteady Anniversary, to Braggin Rites, SLAM DVD’s and hookt.com’s infamous battles, he established himself as someone who could captivate a crowd and who people looked forward to seeing. But it was then that Technique realized what every battle champion had come to terms with before him, battles was just that, battling, and not synonymous with success at making music. Turning his eye to production and touching up some of the songs he had written in prison he now focused on trying to get an album together, but major labels wanted a more pop friendly image and were uncomfortable with his hardcore street style that was complemented by his political views. In response to their lack of vision, Immortal Technique left the battle circuit and released his critically acclaimed Revolutionary Vol.1, which at first moved 3000 copies, but to date has moved more than 12,000. This earned him Unsigned Hype in the Source (11/02) and numerous articles in Elemental & Mass Appeal.

Established in the underground circuit Tech began another round of dealing with record labels unwilling to see the direction of his brutally honest and cultured rhymes. He decided to continue with what had been so successful, his hand to hand out the trunk hustle. In the post 9.11 climate, as the music industry crumbled, Immortal Technique built on the truth with a hardcore brand of street politics.

SOURCE: ViperRecords.com

Interview with Immortal Technique 2007

For more information go to http://www.immortal-technique.com/

6 thoughts on “Music With A Message: Immortal Technique

  1. We need more music like this. Music with a message. Music that makes you think about the world you are living in whether you be a kid on the street or a university student. Not the shallow, empty trash that encourages our kids to disrespect women and each other, teaching them of a world in which it’s every man for himself and a dog eat dog cold existence. The record companies love that shit because they just pull some naive kid off the street sign him up, get him to talk street nonsense over some hip hop beats, it sells by the bucket loads, the record company makes loads of money and the youth that buy the records are sold a false reality – the capitalist dream. Get rich or die trying. Dreams of layin back in a jacuzzi… smokin pot whilst naked women sit all around, dollar bills everywhere, never have to work a day in your life, talk to people like their dogs because you are the baddest around, kill a man if he looks at you wrong…what a message of hope that is! In truth, it’s no different to these X-factor programmes that have kids dreaming they are going to be stars one day. The only difference is because it is real people with street slang and knowhow it legitimises it. What happened to the Bob Marleys of this world. People out there with a real message of hope. Gil Scott Herons. Music with words and ideas that can open your mind not close it. Soul music. We need people making music that educates not institutionalizes our kids. Helps them to think outside the box… outside this narrow scope that tv and media portrays to them. Music with a real and educational message.

  2. Hi Blogger,
    If you have not heard about this great hip hop music video for the Green Party, you should check it out. The goal is to get more younger people,
    people of color, and the disenfranchised involved in politics to take back,
    their country. This is not about Obama. This is about Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, two women of color who are about the people.
    Our song is a positive, uplifting, clean and catchy. We suggest you embedding it onto your site to spread the message. Check it out. If you enjoy it, forward it, play it, download it, share it, link it, etc. Be apart of this musical movement.

    to see video and get embed code, visit
    http://www.youtube.com/someofallparts

    for lyrics and the press release for the song,
    go to http://www.myspace.com/thesomeofallparts

    Peace.
    Some of All Parts

  3. Pingback: [VIDEO] Immortal Technique On Bolivarian Revolution « Bala Fria

  4. everything we see is all controlled by the media. it’s not even a matter of colour or where your from. Media controls the world, it’s the most powerful tool ever created.

    what ever the media put’s infront of you, you see it so many time, to start to believe it. we all know bin laden never hit there tower, we all know the london bombing was set up. it’s amtter of realising what’s going on in the world and whom is doing all this and why. people should spend more time reading, rather then listening to the media

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