Immortal Technique is serious. While other hip-hop artists are still obsessed with chasing the cheddar and bling, the Peruvian-born MC spits vitriolic rhymes about the Bush administration, racism, foreign policy and 9/11 conspiracy theories.
In "The 4th Branch," he says, "They burned innocent people trying to murder Saddam / When they gave 'em those chemical weapons to go to war with Iran."
And who is to blame? Reference "Cause of Death" for 9/11 according to Immortal Technique: "And just so conservatives don't take it to heart / I don't think Bush did it, cuz he isn't that smart." That should appease the neocons.
This is a more mature, positive channeling of the rage that landed him in prison for assault in the late '90s. While incarcerated, he read up, worked out and started writing lyrics. Upon release, he became a brutal warrior in the MC battle scene. While major labels courted, he would not soften his message or style, and thus left the battle circuit to produce his own record, Revolutionary Vol. 1, which earned him "Unsigned Hype" recognition in The Source.
And the hype lives on. Immortal Technique has worked with political hip-hop luminaries like Chuck D and KRS-One, as well as death-row inmate and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal. His next album, The Middle Passage, is expected to be released this year on Viper Records, where he is executive vice president.
You could say he's come a long way from the streets of Harlem, but as he says in "Leaving the Past":
"I hate it when they tell us how far we came to be / As if our people's history started with slavery."
Immortal Technique with Poison Pen and Black Pegasus
The Black Sheep, 2106 E. Platte Ave.
Saturday, April 29, 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15, all ages; call 866/468-7621 or visit ticketweb.com.