The task of reviewing anything to do with the rapper Immortal Technique is overwhelming for any journalist. Where to begin? Perhaps the background information about a nine year old child who was born in South America and found himself in the high drama lifestyle of Harlem, where at this young age he was already calling himself Technique or the now much talked about recollections of the rappers past as an extremely hungry up and coming artist who entered MC battle after battle to vent the need to express his mind matter.
The safest bet would be to first mention the highly regarded debut album 'Revolutionary Vol.1', an EP turned LP that sold over two thousand copies with no distribution, promotional budget or label. Touching on the current affairs of its time revolving around September the eleventh and the actions of the US government across the globe, it hit the streets very loudly, gaining the applause of critics and fans alike. With astonishing narrative pieces of art such as the stand out track 'Dance With The Devil', jaws dropped and just as the audience are beginning to get their breath back, 'Revolutionary Vol.2' has arrived.
The first track on this remarkable album titled 'The Point Of No Return' is rinsed in dedication and commitment from the artist. The lyrical content is so charged that at points one feels the need to immediately hit the rewind button. Metaphors pulling from historical imagery and psychological knowledge and references to mainstream cinema as well as the death penalty are easily and confidently used to embark on an opening statement, a track of not merely promise but fact, that Immortal Technique has studied his game plan and isn't going to trip up on anything.
Next comes 'Peruvian Cocaine' which features rappers C-Rayz Walz, Pumpkinhead, Lou Cipher, Tonedeff, Diabolic and Poison Pen. Opening with the sampling of a discussion about drug trade, the track rolls into a soothing and head-nodding beat which complements the diverse range of vocal styles throughout. Here the subject matter spreads from the concern of big brothers tapping of phones to the misrepresentation of the issue of drugs in neighborhoods and the negative affects it can have on a person. The end message, spoken in touching and uplifting manor puts the listener into perspective as to who the artist is. You're not going to hear anything about popping pills in a club to get friendly with the ladies on this record. This is about reality.
'Harlem Streets' is of a classic mid tempo hip-hop beat laced with a soothing and chilled guitar like sound. Here Technique spends time talking about his views of his environment. 'A generation of babies born without health care' and 'streets stay flooded in white powder' just two of the many pictures painted with the very capable brush of his tongue. Nas's 'NY State Of Mind' comes to mind only this track's words hit home a lot more affectively and potently.
One of the most talked about tracks on this album is titled 'Industrial Revolution' which features DJ Roc Raida. The track uses a simple yet affective piano melody layered over a basic but hypnotizing drum pattern. 'If you go platinum, it has nothing to do with luck. It just means that a million people are stupid as fuck' airs the wordsmith's powerful opinion of overground hip-hop productivity. It might be worth noting that if this artist and album were to ever go platinum, there'd be a sudden surge in the intelligence of one million folk.
At a time when international stability is very shaky and within a mist of thick fog, truth and honesty causes for a much-needed breath of fresh air and in the track 'The 4th Breach', Immortal's listeners get just that. Plainly and simply on one of my personal favorite beats, the author points out the much overlooked fact that Sadaam Hussein was funded by the powers that be in Amerikka. 'How could this be? The land of the free?' offers a sentiment most, if not all could relate to in one way or another.
'Freedom Of Speech' is a title to be expected by the artist at this point in the album but it doesn't fail in being a clichéd and predictable rant that would be expected for many a left winged rhymer. Over an extremely enjoyable, light and humorous beat we hear lines such as 'Executives diss me', 'they want me signed to the major's, if I switch up my politics and change my behavior' and 'I put the truth on tracks'. Here is yet more evidence which goes to show just how in control and aware of his talents he is, and that his confidence in self ability is to such an extent that you just know he's going to be around for a long time, making a lot of influential noise.
Whilst the likes of Dead Prez jump on and off labels due to disagreements about lyrical content, whilst the older generations Paris and Public Enemy still fight their causes but to a smaller and more select audience, and whilst no artists in any other genre dare to speak their mind in an attempt to bring change, Immortal Technique could possibly be the secret cure. The beat's are of a high quality, the delivery of the words is fresh, the words themselves are unheard of nowadays in hip-hop and the aggression and bone deep self-belief and discipline is mesmerizing. Buy this album, buy the one before it, and by the one to come after it. For your own good.