Artist of the Week: Immortal Technique

As an artist, finding a balance between uncensored self-expression and the production of a viable, sellable product is not only difficult but highly unlikely. Immortal Technique is a rare exception to that rule, partly because he values freedom of speech and standing for what you believe in more than monetary or commercial success.

Immortal Technique: Beyond Rap and Demanding More

Though plenty of artists have high hopes and good intentions with music of a heavier nature, there is an inevitable weight to that effort that requires an unshakable level of courage as well as a sense of conviction that is infectious rather than off-putting.

Immortal Technique has mastered this balance within the gamut of conscious rap and it is the procession of his values that can be attributed to his success within the underground hip hop circuit. Unlike some artists who fail to practice what they preach, Immortal Technique truly is an activist first and an entertainer second, using hip hop as a conduit for unalloyed truths and the verities of our worlds injustice.

An excerpt from Immortal Technique’s Documentary:

Born Felipe Andres Cornel, the Peruvian native and Harlem raised rapper is a mesmerizing storyteller. Whether he’s chronicling his own personal pains, showcasing his biting wit or commenting on something greater than both combined, his music is undeniably engaging, so much so that it can be disarming, requiring you to drop whatever you’re doing to give him your undivided attention.

Tech’s sophomore album, Revolutionary Vol. 2 released in 2003, is without a doubt, his most impressive in terms of memorable beat production and cutting lyricism. On all of his albums, though not as aggressively so on his latest (The 3rd World), his harsh rhetoric is supported by intelligence, and the scope of his narrative is so undeniably informed that his brashness seems fully justified if not genius at times.

Tracks like “Harlem Streets,” (Revolutionary Vol. 2) and “Dance with the Devil” (Revolutionary Vol. 1) have an aching poignancy that can only be indicative of experiences that cut deep, inflicting wounds that never fully healed. Both tracks are an insightful reflection of his upbringing and the cyclically inescapable, if not strategic oppression of America.

The track “Obnoxious” (Revolutionary Vol. 2) is Tech at his finest, a rude and intimidating hardcore rapper with outrageous similes that are stunningly impressive before you even realize they’re exceptionally clever. “Peruvian Cocaine,” is a stellar example of his balance between carousal and crucial. Produced by the unbelievably talented SouthPaw, “Peruvian Cocaine” is a must listen, riotously insightful party track.

All things considered, Immortal Technique is one of the most gracious performers out there and gives credit where credit is due, whether it be to other artists on the road or his audience, who he affectionately refers to as, “real supporters, not some fair-weather fans.” His live shows are not only unconventional but overwhelming, conjugating as a mass lobby of supporters rather than “fans.”

Whether you appreciate his style or agree with the lyrical content of his music, what Immortal Technique does so effectively is instigate critical thinking, and if he’s able to resolve indifference by inciting passion or even outrage in his listeners, then he has accomplished exactly what he set out to do, not only as an artist but as a radical visionary. So, by the recommendation of Immortal Technique, who is busy juggling a music career, humanitarian efforts and the school he recently built in Kabul, Afghanistan, “Burn it off the fucking Internet and bump it outside.”

Article by Lea Weatherby
Feature photo by J.N. Silva with graphic by Juan Pilar 

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