In light of our SOURCE360 #UnsignedHype competition, over the next few weeks, we’ve decided to highlight some of the great moments in the history of The Source’s Unsigned Hype column. Today, we’re re-visiting Immortal Technique, who was featured in the November 2002 edition of the magazine.
If you’re an aspiring rapper, take the time and join our #SOURCE360 Unsigned Hype competition. The winner performs at The Barclays Center at The SOURCE360 Concert and gets a full-page Unsigned Hype spread in the next issue of the magazine. Need we say more? You can sign up by clicking here.
In 1994, the Gravediggaz’s abrasive image and graphic depictions of religious history proved to be too much for the masses to handle. Granted, their drastic approach was, well, kinda scary. But people willing to listen ultimately embraced the reality of their message. Such as in the case with this month’s unsigned verbalist.
Immortal Technique’s aggressive style and piercing vocals exude information fueled by a combination of dead prez’s revolutionary mindset and Pharoahe Monch’s scientific imagination. Over the eerie, bloodcurdling piano keys of “Industrial Revolution,” Technique sarcastically unleashes candid lines like, “I want $35 million for my callused hands/ Like the Bush administration gave to the Taliban…”
Possessing a firm grip on both English and Spanish, Tech, who was born in Peru and raised in Harlem, rips tracks with over-bearing flows replete with clever metaphors and wordplay. On “Leavin’ the Past,” he rides bass-heavy marching drums and a wailing vocal sample rudely dropping bone-chilling verses. “Like a desperate muthafucka strapped to a bomb/ Humanities gone/ Smoked up in a gravity bong/ By a Democrat/ Republican Cheech and Chong/ Immortal Technique…I’m not controversial, I’m just speakin’ the facts/ Put ya hands in the air like you got the heat to your back/ And shake your body like a baby born addicted to crack…”
Other joints, the biographical “Crossin’ the Boundary,” further establish Technique’s strong writing ability and boundless supply of facts and figures. Most impressive, though, is how the hardcore MC softens his attack just enough to open up and tell a gut-wrenching love story with serious plot twists and the dramatic “U Never Know.” In three verses, the tragic tale unfolds like an epic movie scripts over a hypnotizing instrumental.
Emerging from an overcrowded New York underground scene, Immortal Technique is poised to take his brand of political-science-over-beats beyond the battles and into corporate offices. Signifying a time for a new era in hip-hop, it won’t be long before today’s audience is introduced to the harsh reality of what he has to say.