Street Hop Magazine

"Underground Hip-Hop Blog"

Exclusive Interview With Immortal Technique

Raptalk.net this week got the opportunity to chop it up with an underground hip hop legend, Immortal Technique. After releasing two classic hip hop albums in, Revolutionary Vol. 1 & Revolutionary Vol. 2 he’s back but this time with DJ Green Lantern’s help. The highly anticipated new album entitled The 3rd World is set to hit stores June 24th, 2008. The outspoken Harlem native emcee sat down to speak on a variety of topics, including his thoughts on the New York Hip Hop scene, the commercialisation of Hip Hop music in 2008, his new album and his thoughts on Major Labels.

Dub MD: Immortal Technique, Whats Good? For those who don’t know, could you just give a short review of what you’ve experienced in your rap career up until now?
Immortal Technique: Two hours nights of sleep. Hard work. Jealousy. Betrayal. Greed. I’ve also experienced a lot of support and mutual respect. A lot of surprising amounts of love from places that I didn’t even expect, from people that I wouldn’t even think would show love. There are a lot of people that, although they might not show it or say it out front, they appreciate the type of music that I make, especially the message that it brings forth and that it inspires in people.

While there is the bad part, with lying ass niggas, sheisty record labels and fake ass fucks, there are definitely a lot of people out there that you wouldn’t even think would be down with my music, but they do contribute to my cause in some way shape or form.

Dub MD: Coming from Harlem, what do you think of the New York music scene right now?
Immortal Technique: I’m from Harlem but at the same time, I look at it like, sometimes we are a little bit near-sighted about things. New York is probably the most popular city in America, but we shouldn’t act like it is the capital of the world. When I go to other places, some people expect New Yorkers to have an attitude. But since I approach others as a brother that’s why I get a lot of support from cats that are similar minded and the reason why I have a lot of soldiers and captains all around the world.

I don’t ever approach people with this, “Oh, I’m from New York so that makes me the shit,” mentality. There are people from Los Angeles, Guatemala, Colombia, Nigeria, Palestine, Lebanon, South Africa, Australia, from all over, who are running their own particular operation. When I come to them as a brother versus trying to speak down to them and regulate like I know more about where they’re from, they show love. New York is the safest city in the motherfucking world now pretty much, even though there is still drama relative to the size of it.

Per capita, there is so much more violence in other places. And I don’t think people should be proud of that. Someone from Philly or Oakland shouldn’t be bragging about the number of murders in their city. That makes them look like fucking idiots. Those are our people dying out there everyday. New York is the police state capital of the world. That’s what we live in here. Rather than arguing like a bunch of petty barons grabbing for the same crown, we could be working together to make our scene stronger. And that’s what I do on an underground level with people.

Never mind what other people do and their concerns of negativity, selfishness and jealousies. They are welcome to go destroy themselves with that. I only roll with real niggas.

Dub MD: What do you think of the commercialisation of Hip Hop right now, do you think its showing respect to its pioneers?
Immortal Technique: I don’t think it shows respect to the culture. People are making money off of it and kicking back to the old school here and there so some people feel appreciated. But on the whole, it leaves out a lot of people and a lot of individuals that were pillars of the Hip Hop community. It definitely doesn’t respect the fact that Hip-Hop was based on a lot of the principles of Islam.

A lot of rappers were Muslim in the very beginning but unfortunately we’ve moved towards more materialism. And although it has nothing to do with religion, it’s seen in the fact that people didn’t have to try to be flashy back in the day and yet they were still real. Now, people are acting like because someone doesn’t have a certain type of get up that they are not as valued as an artist.

Acting as if Jesus Christ himself was crucified on a platinum, diamond-encrusted cross. Jesus was nailed to a dirty piece of wood for speaking truth to power, he wasn’t crucified to a precious piece of metal, with stones on it..

Dub MD: You’ve got a new street album about to drop called “The 3rd World”, Can you tell us a little about that and what can heads out there expect from it?
Immortal Technique: The album is a very violent and lyrically heavy album, my voice is a bit more gutter on some songs because they were recorded on tour and cuz I had just gotten over strep throat but otherwise, this is just a representation of a maturing individual who didn’t stick to the script.

This album doesn’t put the blame on just America, it calls into question our mistakes as a people, our culture, our systems, our flaws, and my own flaws, my own adversity. The production is very diversified and the subject matter is too so I think the people will enjoy it since there is something there for everyone.

Dub MD: It’s been a few years now since your last release, how come to waited so long to come back out with some new material?
Immortal Technique: Actually, you were supposed to wait even longer. I wanted to get “The Middle Passage” and “Revolutionary Vol. 3” out. But I figured that, since me and Green Lantern had been working with a lot of music, I decided to release “The 3rd World” album / mixtape because it was something that the supporters had been waiting for a long time.

I write all the time. I even started a writing contest (which people could check on the MySpace or Immortal Technique website) because I want to show people that we can create income for ourselves while spreading the truth at the same time by putting what we love out there. While this particular record is not the follow up to Revolutionary Vol 2, it definitely is a lead in to “The Middle Passage” and “Revolutionary Vol 3.” It’s a CD with very powerful songs.

Dub MD: As the president of Viper Records, What can we expect to see coming from your label over the next few years? Any new artists we need to check for?
Immortal Technique: At first Viper Records was something I built up to be completely devoted to my music and to help out some of my peoples, like Akir, and now that we have a larger capacity, we are going to start building with a few more artists and complete some compilation projects.

Dub MD: There’s a lot of Hip Hop artists on major labels these days, Why do you feel so few artists, given the opportunity to express their opinions in such a prominent free-speech platform, are so afraid to do so?
Immortal Technique: Being on a major label doesn’t imply that you have any control or freedom of expression. Someone else decides your album cover and what you’re going to be marketed as, so why the fuck would you have any control over what type of music is on your album? They approve and disapprove what you do. You own nothing. You turn in your masters, to your masters.

You could front like you’re the shit nigga, but I see the paperwork behind you. I got my spies at your label. I never stress rappers or their employers. I look at it as comical. If you really want to be able to say something, there has to be and contingency plan when someone tries shutting you down. Lawyers and corporations decide your songs, imagery, album title, and the way you are marketed. My album has lots of very politically charged statements that are backed by historical facts. Those facts probably bother some people, but I don’t give a fuck. I’m not here to make people feel better about their legacy and history and change what the truth is.

We are here to talk about reality and what happened, to our people and people around the world. If people feel bad because they have a legacy of occupation, imperialism, rape, genocide, and political holocaust, then they need to deal with it personally. I’m dealing with it personally by speaking on behalf of the people who are living through it right now and have been living through it for the past 500 years. And I’m able to do that because I’m independent.

Dub MD: What is on tap for Immortal Technique for the rest of 2008 and beyond?
Immortal Technique: World Tour. The Middle Passage. Revolutionary Vol.3. Documentary Project, “Urban Warfare”. I also have a series of actions taking place called “Green Light Projects.” You will hear about these when June 24th comes.

Dub MD: Do you have anything to say to the fans? anything you wanna get off your chest? any shout outs?
Immortal Technique: Tell everyone who has been a supporter, instead of a fan, all the real supporters, I want to thank you. A fan is just a groupie fuck that listens to whatever is hot on the radio and acts like they are too cool for school cause they got a V.I.P. pass, nigga, fuck you, you ’re a nobody! (chuckles) But, all the real supporters who listen to music because they care about it, because they connect with the artist and feel like that artist speaks directly to their struggle, I want to thank YOU.

All those people that put that work in, that don’t think they are a revolutionary because they came to one of my shows, but have come up to tell me about the things that they are doing. Yak now, I don’t hide from my fans. I don’t act like Louis the 16th like some other niggas. I’m not in some other room sipping Chardonnay acting like I’m some sort of God. I’m in the street, in the hood, in the crowd talking to people. I meet with people after the shows. I don’t hide from peoples.

I don’t have anxiety or some personality complex like I’m afraid of my own people. I want to thank people who come to me with ideas, come to me with questions and want to have discussions that are built around achieving something, and everyone who’s come at me respectfully. And I’d like to thank the first few couple of people that came at me disrespectfully, because, since you niggas got fucked up, people have learned their motherfuckin’ lesson.

And now it’s all about building and working with people, we leave others to roll around in their own negativity, there are too many problems in the world to squabble amongst each other when there is a lot of work to do. I look forward to networking with more Revolutionary groups and individuals this summer coming up!

Immortal Technique’s new street album “The 3rd World” with DJ Green Lantern hits stores via Viper Records tomorrow (Tuesday 24th June, 2008) support real Hip Hop music and pick up a copy(s)!

June 23, 2008 - Posted by | Interviews | , , , ,

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