Don’t Sleep: Necessary Notables
Mixtape: The Martyr
Headliner: Immortal Technique
Key Cameo: “Angels & Demons” (featuring dead prez and Bizarre Royale)
Essential Info: Don’t get Immortal Technique’s message confused with his ability to rap.
The Harlem, New York, MC made his name as one of hip-hop’s most powerful political voices. With his Revolutionary album trilogy, Tech has spoken out through his music against government corruption and corporate greed, but on his latest mixtape, The Martyr, he wants to make it clear that while his message is still strong, his music is equally mighty.
“When people think of Immortal Technique, they automatically assume that it’s going to be something incredibly aggressive or violent or something very political,” he told Mixtape Daily.
On The Martyr, Tech doesn’t abandon his socially conscious edge; instead, he enhances it with new song concepts and high-powered guest appearances. Chuck D, Killer Mike and Brother Ali collaborate on “Civil War,” a dramatically paced track on which Tech and company attempt to dead the infighting between all oppressed individuals. Tech continues to raise the bar on “Young Lords” with Joell Ortiz and Pumpkinhead, with the MCs embodying the spirit of the 1960s pro-Puerto Rican revolutionaries. He also links with dead prez on “Angels & Demons.”
“It’s a very powerful, very violent song, but it talks about the reflection of what other parts of the world see and what would happen if there was really that type of violent reaction to repression here in this country,” he said of the track, which was produced by DJ Green Lantern.
One of the tape’s chief standouts is “Rich Man’s World (1%).” On it, Tech — who has been heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement — rhymes from the respective of the wealthiest 1 percent of America’s population. “I basically rhyme from the perspective of someone who is richer than the richest rapper. This is how I see the world.”
On the bouncy track, Immortal spits, “Yacht on the ocean, coasting with the sails out/ Hey, America, thanks for the bailout,” with tongue-in-cheek wit.
“It’s just funny,” he said. “I like to inject humor into something, because if everything is such a serious, ’the world is crumbling, revolution, blood in the street’ [topic], then music becomes one-dimensional. And even though I make music that might be different from what you find in the commercial mainstream, I don’t want it to be one-dimensional.”
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