Third volume of the revolution

June 26, 2008

Derek Ide reviews the third album by hip-hop artist Immortal Technique.

UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP artist Immortal Technique has released his third album, entitled The 3rd World. Following the revolutionary tradition of his past two releases (Revolutionary, Volumes 1 and 2), Tech brings us 16 hard-hitting, politically motivated tracks.

This release runs the gamut of content, discussing anything from gentrification to the commercialized hip-hop industry. In this album, Tech expands his lyrical ability, dropping unique rhymes over seminal production, with the help of DJ Green Lantern (who has also worked with mainstream artists like 50 Cent and Eminem).

The album starts us off with the song "Death March," which stands as a superb introduction. The very first lines are a critique of imperialism and anti-immigrant stances:

Invasion and rampant monetary inflation
That brought us all to the footsteps of this nation...
They call us terrorists after they ruined our countries,
Funding right-wing paramilitary monkeys.
Tortured our populace, then blamed the communists,
Your lies are too obvious, propaganda monotonous.
And that's not socialist mythology;
This is urban warfare, through the streets of your psychology.

Review: Music

Immortal Technique with DJ Green Lantern, The 3rd World, Viper, 2008.

In the next track, "That's What It Is," Tech sets his sights on topics such as the façade of democracy and education in the U.S. Technique, born in Peru, includes a Spanish track entitled "Golpe de Estado," or "Coup d'Etat. On "Harlem Renaissance," he expands on gentrification and housing.

He moves on from there to discuss where to aim hostility and anger in the song "Lick Shots," which advocates that the poor and working class to aim their guns on the real enemy--the political establishment--and not each other.

Tech deals with plenty of other topics as well: the hip-hop industry in "Hollywood Driveby," propaganda and exploitation in "Reverse Pimpology," exploring the possibilities of being in political power in the song "The Payback," the prison-industrial complex in "Out on Parole," and the generally exploitative and destructive nature of capitalist society in "Crimes of the Heart."

One of the most compelling songs comes with Tech's first single, titled "The 3rd World." He speaks of the theft of natural resources, the terrible conditions of poverty, political repression, the drug trade, U.S. military invasion and a host of other topics, which harm people of impoverished countries.

Technique explains that he comes from a place where "the only way democracy is acceptable is if America's candidate is electable," continuing later to say "I'm from where they overthrow democratic leaders, not for the people but for the Wall Street Journal readers."

This album is a must-have for any hip-hop fan or socialist. Hopefully, this summer we will hear more Immortal Technique and fewer regressive, reactionary rappers. Tech's fortitude has held out in the face of an industry that swallows up rappers and distorts their message.

With this release, he has proved Nas wrong--using expansive vocabulary and top-notch production, yet still remaining true to the roots of the art, Immortal Technique has shown us that hip-hop is far from dead.

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