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CD Review 

             Immortal  Technique's Revolutionary Vol. 2 album has its virtues -- and its  vices.  Sadly the vvices are so disheartening that I must view  this CD less as art than as an uneven collage of clever beats and testy challenges  to the U.S. ruling class interspersed with appallingly misogynous and  homophobic diatribes.


             I like the name he's given himself:  Immortal Technique.  But I question whether he's really found the technique, or voice, he really wants or aspires to AS AN ARTIST.  If he has, then he's sunk, and his "immortality" is  just a silly fantasy.  But if he knows he's still got a lot of growing to do, then I'm with him (hell, even Tupac made some terrible ethical blunders; one would hope the Pac's heirs would take a lesson from how fatal such blunders can be). A number of tracks on Revolutionary Vol. 2 fiercely and at times wittily attack the racist political economics of the United States of  America, nailing the GW Bush gang and general corporate hypocrisies of both major political parties, as  well as of  "house nigga executives".


             Track 12 is graced with Mumia Abu Jamal speaking on hip hop, and on track 14, "a little thing for the kids", is a witty riff using lines  from the Walt Disney classic Pinocchio, with the spirited puppet singing  "there are no strings on me" -- indicating Immortal  Technique's pride in his independent label.  The irony of it is: an  independent label is no guarantee against self-deluding trash-talk against  women, offering no good leadership to young black males who need all the help they can get in this still-patriarchal kleptocracy to know how  properly to honor their sisters and potential lovers.


             Certainly it's savvy to avoid being co-opted by sweet-talking white manager types, but survival alone isn't what should drive someone's music. When I listen to a  rapper or any musical performer or public speaker, I want to trust her or  him.  So when a guy says "I never make songs to disrespect women or to judge people about the way that they're living" then he turns around  and says "I'll rape your mom, I still murder rappers on the street for  sport . . . and fuck your family too", I can't trust him.  The excuse that "the way that I am is based on what I was given" is no excuse at  all, it's just a morally flatulent cop out, conforming to the lowest common  denominator of street-victim consciousness,  rationalizing omnidirectional rage-aholism.  


             A trustworthy  hip-hop artist knows how to posture with the best of the macho maniacs but  doesn't need to because his self-respect is deep enough to not have to play that kind of self-and-other-destructive game. So when on track 18  he says he "wrote this for Mumia, other prisoners and the children", well,  I don't think he spent enough time re-writing.  If  Immortal Technique seriously had children's well-being in mind, then  he'd have thought more carefully about how insulting much of his lyrics are  to those children's mothers and grandmothers.


             I hope he reads this and  considers himself a (potentially) significant enough artist -- I will definitely  look out for his next album -- to grow beyond the mistakes of this last  effort, which does contain some hot beats and right-on stabs at clear-focused snapshots of the tyrannies of the military-industrial-media-conglomerated rich, who, by the way, love it when the oppressed (black men, for instance) oppress  each other and oppress other oppressed (women, gays, etc.).  Rather than  "render unto 
 as Jesus is alleged to have said, it's more likely Christ said, "Beware of Caesar, whose empire rests on the premise 'divide  and conquer', which amounts to strings of lies intended to cause all of with less material power to doubt, distrust and fight each other while Caesar keeps hand over fist taking from us all.


             Despite Immortal Technique's apparent critical intentions in his  attacks on mega-corporations, my fear is that, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, he may be one more rapper who's out to get his own, and not truly intent on justice and equality for all.  Track 5 is full of ugly lyrics justifying anger, violence and contempt for women. Homophobic foolishness also degrades what could have been a pretty exciting,  politically bold album.  When he shouts lines such as"degenerate fags  burn Trent Lott in a flag" I wonder whose side is he on, the hard right's or those truly committed to equality?  All the great hip hop artists are serious students of history, and they KNOW their success in the mega-capitalist marketplace is in large part thanks to the achievements of, among others, a brilliant and courageous out-there gay man, Bayard Rustin.  So, shame on any self-promoting Black performers or activists who fail to honor, or worse, don't even know about Rustin's  sacrifices for the Civil Rights Movement (If it hadn't been for Bayard Rustin's courageous and ingenious diplomacy and organizing skills, we might never have heard Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.


             Rappers only become artists when they recognize that self-expression alone doesn't make art.  You have to have the heart and soul it takes to struggle in private with many sources of information and misinformation to construct material that breathes with the light of real consciousness, real love, real hope.  Immortal Technique will vanish like all other would-be-creative mortals if he doesn't apply this insight to his craft with consistency.  After all, what's the point of even opening your mouth and blowing air across your voice box if you aren't speaking to the whole family of humankind with the same breath as you'd breathe when kissing a baby goodnight?  Peace Out!


The public is invited to send us your candid comments on " 

Immortal Technique: Revolutionary Vol. 2: Viper Records  to bryworld@aol.com 

Music CD


Immortal Technique: Revolutionary Vol. 2: Viper Records  

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....


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 RitesSLAM 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.



Preview sample Audio Clips Immortal Technique: Revolutionary Vol. 2--Immortal Techniques' Website




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