“I’m obnoxious, mother-fucker, can’t you tell, run through Little Havana yelling Viva Fidel!” -Immortal Technique Immortal Technique doesn’t care if you love him or hate him, he’s just as indignant as ever. The New York-based emcee has put an incredible amount of effort toward verbally attacking virtually every institution–governmental, religious and social–that Americans hold sacred.
“I’m obnoxious, mother-fucker, can’t you tell, run through Little Havana yelling Viva Fidel!”-Immortal Technique
Immortal Technique doesn’t care if you love him or hate him, he’s just as indignant as ever.
The New York-based emcee has put an incredible amount of effort toward verbally attacking virtually every institution–governmental, religious and social–that Americans hold sacred.
And to the delight of fringe hip-hop heads, and pissed off people everywhere, Immortal Technique has recently announced a long-overdue West Coast tour–hitting up Portland this Thursday night at the Wonder Ballroom in beautiful Northeast Portland. It will not be tranquil.
Taking a short break from writing material for his long-awaited third record, Immortal is touring on the behalf of the strength and recognition of his previous work. His second official album, Revolutionary Vol. II, begins with a recorded message from jailed political activist Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Speaking from a cell on death row, Jamal gives a powerful endorsement, praising Immortal for: “bringing the voice of truth through hip-hop,” solidly aligning Technique with the radical left, sort of like a less-likable Zack De La Rocha-type figure for kids born 10 years too late. Dissent and social criticism are common themes in his music, with the opposites-attract virtue of combining eloquence and book-smart intelligence with extreme arrogance and occasionally pragmatic dogma.
Born in a military hospital in Lima, Peru during the midst of a civil-war crisis and then relocating to Harlem, New York at an early age, Immortal Technique comes from a mixed ethnic background. But as far as you can tell from his lyrics, he views the world from a very black and white perspective, and can be ferociously opinionated on what he believes to be right or wrong.
Congruently, there is not a lot of middle ground in any facets of his music-people that are familiar with him either hate him with a passion or think he is going to save the world. There are not many passive listeners of Immortal Technique.
One could make the argument that is he is a slightly misguided, but ultimately altruistic, folk hero. Songs like “Industrial Revolution,” “Peruvian Cocaine” and “The Poverty of Philosophy” carry important, intelligent messages about very real social problems, both domestically and across the world.
In this way, he is essentially like a very abrasive, black Pete Seeger. Detractors and critics of the Immortal Technique camp dismiss his lyrics and songwriting style as unnecessarily offensive and vulgar, lumping him in the same category as shock-jock rapper Necro and the Non-Phixion crew, a comparison that is way too limited in scope but not altogether unjustified.
Songs like “Obnoxious” undermine the seriousness of his political agenda, but are hilarious and endearing to listen to. Not every song can change the world.
Although he is still relatively underground, Immortal Technique’s uncouth lyrics have managed to inspire unrest and caution on a global level. His music has been explicitly banned in the Commonwealth of Australia under a new provision in the Australian Constitutional Code called the “Sedition Law,” which apparently criminalizes any person or opinion that “urges any other person to overthrow the lawful authority of the Government by the use of force or violence.” I would imagine that Mr. Technique would feel honored by this news.
Even if you can’t stand him, you should go see this concert to make it interesting. The show will be full of know-it-all 20-somethings that are just itching for an argument.
And if you think he is a genius, like many people do, then the decision to patronize the most Immortal of all Techniques should be an easy one: it’s just the right thing to do.
Immortal Technique w/ DJ Green Lantern
Thursday, March 13th Wonder Ballroom9 p.m. $15 Advance, $18 day of showAll ages