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December 7, 2004

{     Immortal Technique - Revolutionary Vol. 2     }    

The most essential and critically important rap album released this year didn't come out on a major label. There's no MTV buzz-bin video to accompany it's debut single. It sure as shit won't be played on Clear Channel-sponsored radio or nominated for 10 Grammys. In fact, it's more likely to show up on FBI and CIA watch lists than it is to appear on mainstream media Top Ten lists. And that's just the way Immortal Technique likes it. Poet, pariah, prophet, parolee- Immortal Technique is many different things to many different people. While his militant mindset hasn't won him much of a popular fanbase, thousands of underground heads have heard the word and found common cause in Tech's tales of the disenfranchised. Revolutionary Vol. 2 has already sold an unprecedented number of copies for an unsigned record, especially given its anti-government, anti-status-quo flow. And that's the heart of the matter. Tech packs so much punch into each track, you'd swear it was Buy-One-Get-Three-Free day at the street-hop supermarket. There is so much going on, you'd be hard pressed to absorb even half of it the first time around. True tales of government corruption, the reality of the drug trade in the US, the conspiracy to hold the American public in a constant state of terror allowing for rampant military-industrial pillaging of this and other countries: These are just some of the themes addressed, and addressed so well. As Tech stacks metaphors he gets meta-referential, punning and cleverly commenting on brain-bombs he planted three lines back, bringing the whole statement back to the forefront or fleshing out the gaps you just found yourself pondering. It's the rap-equivalent of quantum physics, tiny brains and closed minds need not apply. That's not to say that the music falls short of the message. The production is crisp with raw edges (sounding better than Vol.1) and though the beats may get a little repetitive, each track is interlaced with its share of grainy samples to further distinguish it- everything from film-snippet speeches, phone messages and crazy-ass violin and piano loops are used to craft the backdrop for what are arguably the most dense and substantial lyrics ever laid to tape. Revolutionary Vol. 2 includes guest-spots from Jean Grae (who sings the hook to "You Never Know"), Mumia Abu Jamal (recording live from a cell on death row), and the insane turntable talents of DJ Roc Raida, among many others. For his part, Immortal Technique exhibits amazing breath control throughout (honed through relentless rap-battles early in his career) and his delivery is equal measures sandpaper rasp and Latin smooth. Combined with the bleeding-edge relevance of his lyrics and message, this record is a must-own.

     » Viper Records (order Revolutionary Vol 1 and 2 here)


this cd is fakin sick

Posted by: huffman at June 14, 2005 7:35 PM
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