Immortal Technique

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
Revolutionary Vol. 1 (2001), 5/10
Revolutionary Vol. 2 (2003), 6/10
The 3rd World (2008), 5/10

Peruvian-born rapper Felipe Coronel, aka Immortal Technique, was raised in New York's black district Harlem.

Revolutionary Vol. 1 (2001) was his agit-prop manifesto, a highly politicized work with stubbornly monotonous, repetitive music. Therefore the emphasis of the project is all on the lyrics, and the lyrics are like an amateurish version of Noam Chomsky's anti-imperialist rants dressed with ideas from assorted conspiracy theorists. At his best he can evoke a dreamy atmosphere, as he does in Positive Balance and Revolutionary. Using Mozart as background for Dance With The Devil is not exactly a stroke of genius. Speak Your Mind To make things worse, his vocal delivery is nothing revolutionary, just a plain, ordinary rap. The Illest, featuring guest vocalists, makes it painfully obvious. The lyrics and the vocal style are in fact what drags down even the songs with a decent accompaniment, like No Me Importa (jazzy flute) and especially The Poverty Of Philosophy (splendid piano melody and sinister rhythm). And if you want to find out how ridiculous his tirades can be, just listen to Beef And Broccoli. By the end of the album, you are ready to vote and volunteer for right-wing parties.

Revolutionary Vol. 2 (2003) was perhaps a bit more musical, but he still didn't understand that just saying the "F" word many times does not make you a political genius and far less an interesting artist. At least he tries to kindle his stiff routine with classical music snippets in The Point of No Return (like he did in Dance With The Devil) and orchestral funk in Crossing The Boundary. The melancholy panorama of Harlem Streets and the suspense-drenched The Cause Of Death certainly mark progress (and the first is a personal high point). Alas, most of the rest is the usual stereotypical sleep-inducing rants: Peruvian Cocaine, Industrial Revolution, The 4th Branch, etc. Not to mention the embarrassing "i know better" sermons like Obnoxious. There is one moment of genius, possibly the first one in his career: the quasi-comic quasi-reggae quasi-fanfare Freedom Of Speech. That is indeed music (as usual, ruined by the inane lyrics).

It is difficult to listen to the whole The 3rd World (2008), a mixtape designed in collaboration with Green Lantern, despite further attempts to increase the doses of music (vs preaching) in the solemn Death March, the funereal brass elegy Golpe De Estado, Reverse Pimpology (with melodic soul counterpoint), and especially the eight-minute Crimes Of The Heart (with angelic female counterpoint and symphonic undercurrent). The multi-voice melodrama Hollywood Driveby even displays some interesting beats, samples and electronic effects. Best of the anti-capitalist rants is probably Open Your Eyes, but, thankfully, those are on the way out.

Collection (2010), that compiles collaborations and remixes, contains two gems: Voices of the Voiceless, that exudes a metaphysical sense of hopelessness; and the grotesque wardance of Democratie Fasciste.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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