Interview with Immortal Technique

Interview with Immortal Technique

You are known for conscious lyricism. What do you think of the world of conscious lyricism right now?

I know I am referred to that way but I kind of shy away from that title because it doesn’t mean that you do anything. Like being conscious doesn’t mean that you apply it, it just implies that you know something. I would use the term revolutionary because I take what I can as an artist and turn into something material, you know? I will go and speak to youth from gangs and juvenile prisons, grown up prisons. I work with community organizers and everybody from A to B. from Latino activists, from people suffering because of the immigration crisis, that are having their families divided and children left behind while the parents are deported… I mean these are real thing that I deal with in life. I really do have the FEDS harassing me, like rappers say that s*** ‘cause they want to seem important. You’re not important to them n****s, they don’t give a f*** about you. I really have n****s checking my taxes, harassing me and you know it is what it is. But I don’t do it to glamorize it. It’s not a good life. It’s not a positive thing. But it shows that at least you are doing something.

When you create or perform do you do it for the art itself or because you try to pass a message?

I think it’s a combination of both, because I definitely portray a revolutionary example of what needs to be done that is a part of Hip Hop. That’s what Hip Hop used to be. Hip Hop used to be a lot of these different things. Put together it combined. Now Hip Hop is presented too many times I would say in a commercial aspect as one-dimensional. When we get to the Hip Hop culture it’s still alive. I mean myself and other artists on the underground keep Hip Hop alive because the corporations try to control as much as they possibly can but we are still the pockets of resistance. We are the gorilla warfare. It’s the urban warfare, we’re fighting to the death. I won’t give it up. I won’t allow them to take it over. I won’t allow them to touch it. I’ll carve a f***ing hole in their chest and rip out their heart before I let n****s take that from me.

Do you think that people are ready for that?

Well, definitely more revolutionary music, but it has to be hard core. Like I’m saying, our style is not just revolutionary it’s hard core lyrics. It’s street s***. We tell folks about what’s going on in the hood for real, it’s not just preaching. It can’t be. It has to be imaginative. There has to be conceptuality to your music. You can’t just be ‘Yo, government sucks, f*** the police!’ This is too simple. The problems we get in real life are more complex, so we need to address it.

Do you want your music to reach more audience or are you happy where you are now?

No, I’d love to reach more audience, but if my music has to reach more audience by watering itself down, then my music ceases to be my music and it’s somebody else’s s***. It’s always gonna be mine so it’s gonna reach in its purest form. Raw! (laughs satanically)