Immortal Technique :: Revolutionary Vol. 2 :: Viper Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Immortal Technique is just one man, even though as an artist his name seems to imply a group bigger than he is. A man who is proud of his Peruvian heritage, while being more Harlem World than Cam'Ron and Mase put together. What that doesn't say about Immortal Technique is how the transition from third world poverty to North American inner city was almost seamless in it's strife and hardship. Technique formed a political view based on that mixed with a desire to share his knowledge about it via hip-hop beats and rhymes, and released the surprise underground hit "Revolutionary Vol. 1" independently. He sold out the initial 2500 unit print run on the strength, and based on word of mouth developed a big enough following to come back with "Vol. 2." Little wonder then that his nom de plume implies timeless skills that never die, the kind of skills that make him a successor to the hip-hop heritage of activists like Brother J, Chuck D, KRS-One and Paris. By mixing his righteous indignation with wicked punchlines, Immortal Technique goes to the next level and becomes "Obnoxious," all in a good way:

"I'm broke as hell, my attitude is no good
Like workin for white people after watching Rosewood
So I'm a mecenary, I don't care how I get richer
Like American companies that did business with Hitler
Get the picture nigga, I'm +The Best of Both Worlds+
without the hidden camera, and the 12 year old girl
I said it I meant it, that's the way I deal with enemies
like pro-lifers, that support the death penalty
And don't talk about war, when niggaz know that you puss
A fucking hypocrite, draft-dodger like George Bush"

Even when dropping more bombs than Chino XL and Canibus combined, Immortal always has a point to his rhymes, a message behind his music. Immortal writes in his liner notes that when he decided to have an all-star underground rap posse cut on "Vol. 2," he wanted it to go deeper than having a bunch of dope rappers spit random verses. That may seem like a small point, but how many visionaries could convince luminaries like C-Rayz Walz, Pumpkinhead and Tonedeff to each spit a verse about how drugs go from South American cash crop to Harlem street corner? "Peruvian Cocaine" not only achieves that goal in fine fashion, it ups the ante by opening with a sample from the movie "Scarface" while closing with one from "New Jack City", all while rapping over a beat from the former's soundtrack. As dope as this song is, it comes in as only the third track on an album with 18 cuts. The further you journey through "Revolutionary Vol. 2" the more you realize nothing Immortal does is half-assed. He'll tackle any subject, from "Industrial Revolution" to "The 4th Branch," with well-written lyrics and a methodical microphone attack. And if you're not familiar with the concept behind the latter, that is that the U.S. government has three branches but that the fourth is mass communication media, Immortal's got the 411 for you:

"The voice of racism preaching the gospel is devilish
A fake church called the prophet Muhammad a terrorist
Forgetting God is not a religion, but a spiritual bond
And Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Qu'ran
They bombed innocent people, tryin to murder Saddam
When you gave him those chemical weapons to go to war with Iran
This is the information that they hold back from Peter Jennings
Cause Condoleeza Rice is just a new age Sally Hemmings
I break it down with critical language and spiritual anguish
The Judas I hang with, the guilt of betraying Christ
You murdered and stole his religion, and painted him white
Translated in psychologically tainted philosophy
Conservative political right wing, ideology
Glued together sloppily, the blasphemy of a nation
Got my back to the wall, cause I'm facin assassination
Guantanamo Bay, federal incarceration
How could this be, the land of the free, home of the brave?
Indigenous holocaust, and the home of the slaves
Corporate America, dancin offbeat to the rhythm
You really think this country, never sponsored terrorism?
Human rights violations, we continue the saga
El Savador and the Contras in Nicaragua
And on top of that, you still wanna take me to prison
Just cause I won't trade humanity for patriotism"

Deep, deep, deeper than Atlantis. Immortal Technique can make you laugh at times, but make no mistake that there's a message to his music. And since the music is laced by the likes of Toure 'Southpaw' Harris, Metaphysics, Danja and Domingo, all with cuts provided by Roc Raida, the message comes through loud and clear. It couldn't be more clear what he means, no matter your race or background, when he utters the words "Turn off the news and read nigga!" Immortal won't settle for your eyes being wide shut, he's going to keep force-feeding you the truth with wit and passion on songs like "The Cause of Death" until the blinders lift up:

"You better watch what the fuck flies outta ya mouth
Or I'ma hijack a plane and fly it into your house
Burn your apartment with your family tied to the couch
And slit your throat, so when you scream, only blood comes out
I doubt that there could ever be - a more wicked MC
Cause AIDS infested child molesters aren't sicker than me
I see the world for what it is, beyond the white and the black
The way the government, downplays, historical facts
Cause the United States sponsored the rise of the 3rd Reich
Just like the CIA trained terrorists to the fight
Build bombs and sneak boxcutters onto a flight
When I was a child, the devil himself bought me a mic
But I refused the offer, cause God sent me to strike
With skills unused like fallopian tubes on a dyke
My words'll expose George Bush and Bin Laden
As two separate parts of the same seven-headed dragon"

While some might dismiss some of his conspiracy theory laden raps as being lunacy, there is a method to his madness and nothing he says comes without the courage of his convictions. Immortal Technique's ideas can always be independently checked, if you have the curiosity and a library card, or a good knowledge of how to use search engines on the web. Whether you agree or disagree with the knowledge that he spits, the one thing that you can't dispute is that it's powerful hip-hop music. Like the early days of Public Enemy and Ice Cube, these are raps which are powerfully intoxicating in that they get you drunk off both the power of information and the way it's presented. Immortal can put on "Vol. 3" and "Vol. 4" and continue to find an audience, as long as he keeps using the power of his mental to combine with dope instrumentals. It will be interesting to see if he lives up to his threat of being the Patriot Act's worst nightmare.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Originally posted: December 30, 2003