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MUSI 1002 (43)
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immortaltechpaper.doc

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Department
Music
Course
MUSI 1002
Professor
Alyssa Woods
Semester
Winter

Description
El-Hajj 1 MUSI 1002A Final Paper Name: Alexander El-Hajj Title: Immortal Technique‟s Political Views Date Submitted: March 19, 2013 El-Hajj 2 Immortal Technique whose actual name is Felipe Coronel is an urban activist as well as a revolutionary American hip-hop rapper of Afro-Peruvian origin but brought up in Harlem New York (Yoan 7). His music revolves around controversial issues in relation to universal politics. Among the issues his lyrics address include institutional racism, poverty, terrorism, class struggle, government, and religion. After moving to New York, he ultimately ended up in prison. After serving his time, he left with a major focal point on music (Llc 34). His antagonistic rapping style gained him immediate unsavory reputation as a battle rapper, and his initial album was a word-of-mouth sensation. Disinclined to revolutionize his message to conventional rap, he chose to write his music completely independent (Pulido 34). This paper will focus on addressing Immortal Technique‟s ideology and political views. His successive projects have enduringly found their way into the hearts and minds of his now diehard fans worldwide. Going behind the scenes, The Revolution of Immortal Technique is an exploration of one man's global journey to fight injustice through music (Yoan 12). His viciously impolite approach was trademark, and it did not take him long to start winning countless battles not just on organized platforms and in clubs, but on the streets whenever an arbitrary cipher would arise (Llc 47). From Rock steady Anniversary, SLAM DVD's to Bragging Rites, and hookt.com's renowned battles, he made a reputable name for himself as a rapper who could fascinate a crowd and who people were eager to see (Yoan 25). However, it was not until then that Technique came to the realization that rap battles were just battles with no likelihood of success at making music. Turning his eye to production and touching up some of the songs he had written in prison he now focused on trying to get an album together, but major labels wanted a more pop friendly image and were uncomfortable with his hardcore street style that was complemented by his political views (Schopp 23). El-Hajj 3 Immortal Technique has described himself as a "socialist guerrilla". Immortal Technique's music gets inspiration it is from historical and often political figures such as Ali, Malcolm X, Guevara, Cesar Chavez, Augusto Cesar Sandino, Marcus Garvey, 2pac Amaru II, Jose Carlos Mariategui, W. E. B. Du Bois, Karl Marx, Francois Toussaint, Harriet Tubman, Emiliano Zapata, and Mumia Abu-Jamal. He has managed to produce several albums that contain songs that address these issues (Schopp 34). Examples of these albums are the likes of Revolutionary Volume 1, Revolutionary Volume 2, The Martyr, and the third World. Revolutionary Vol.1 is an exceptional work of politics and urban music. A commendable aspect about this album is its balance. One of his controversial quotes in relation to global politics is “You see, third world countries are rich places; abundant in resources, and many of these countries have the capacity to feed their starving people and the children we always see digging for food in trash on commercials. But plutocracies, in other words, a government run by the rich, such as this one and traditionally oppressive European states, force the third world into buying over-priced, unnecessary goods while exploiting huge portions of their natural resources…We‟re given the idea that if we didn‟t have these people to exploit that America wouldn‟t be rich enough to let us have these little petty material things in our lives and basic standards of living. No. That is wrong. We have whatever they kick down to us…As much as racism bleeds America; we need to understand that classism is the real issue. Many of us are in the same boat, and it is sinking while these bourgeois mother fuckers ride on a luxury liner. And as long as we keep fighting over kicking people out of the little boat we‟re all in, we‟re going to miss an opportunity to gain a better standard of living as a whole.” Established in the underground circuit Technique began another round of dealing with record labels unwilling to see the direction of his brutally honest and cultured rhymes (Yoan 43). El-Hajj 4 He decided to continue with what had been so successful, his hand to hand out the trunk hustle. In the post 9.11 climate, as the music industry crumbled, Immortal Technique built on the truth with a hardcore brand of street politics. Immortal Technique has also worked with Mumia Abu Jamal and AWOL magazine. His single "Industrial Revolution" released in conjunction with Uncle Howie Records hit #1 on CMJ and #50 on the Billboard charts (Schopp 45). Recently back from a successful West Coast tour, Immortal Technique is now booking a European tour in the fall of 2004 and recording his highly anticipated third album (Pulido 56). In 2001, Immortal Technique released his first album Revolutionary Vol. 1 without the help of a record label or distribution, instead using money earned from his rap battle triumphs. Revolutionary Vol. 1 also contained the underground classic 'Dance with the Devil'. In November 2002, The Source listed him as the months featured Unsigned Hype, which highlights artists that do not belong to a record label (Yoan 58). The following year, in September 2003, he received the coveted "Hip Hop Quotable" in The Source for a song entitled "Industrial Revolution" from his second album. Consequently, since he did not have a record deal or distribution at the time, Immortal Technique is the only rapper in history to have a "Hip Hop Quotable" while being unsigned. He released his second album Revolutionary Vol. 2 in 2003. In 2004, Viper Records and, in 2005, Babygrande Records have re-released Immortal Technique's debut, Revolutionary Vol. 1, to make it available to a wider audience. Point of No Return from Revolutionary Vol. 2 acted as the entrance theme for Rashad Evans during the UFC 88 Main Event between Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans (Schopp 66). He performed his second album in Washington with Ali Hudair (Llc 56). His most controversial political song with regard to government is “Bin Laden” also known as „Tell them the truth‟ where he insinuates that Bush, the former American president was El-Hajj 5 responsible for the twin towers bombings. In the song, he features Mos Def, Jadakiss, and later Eminem through black masking. DJ Green Lantern produced it however; it took almost half a year until official release on a 12" vinyl single in the summer of 2005. The single also contained a remix of the song featuring hip-hop legends Chuck D of Public
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