Determined to make it on his own terms and his own time, Immortal Technique has always stood out–and apart–from the pack. Since arriving on the scene with Revolutionary Vol. 1 in 2001, the Harlem representer has been known to spit hard hitting narratives about the pitfalls of life, race relations, politics, history, and religion. 2003’s Revolutionary Vol. 2 picked up where the original left off and introduced Technique to a wider audience while displaying a more lyrically mature rapper.
Though not the most polished, or politically correct MC, Technique can always be relied on for the real: raw, uncut, and uncensored. Perhaps, more important than the beats or the cadence of the hook are the lessons embedded in the music. To the politically conscious Hip Hop fan that may not be up on important current events or other events of historical significance, Technique provides that gateway to greater knowledge. Vol. 2 hipped many to the CIA’s top secret experiment MKUltra (“The 4th Branch”) or the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (“The Cause of Death”) and 2004’s “Bin Laden” explored the role of the United States’ interventions in Middle Eastern affairs.
Nearly five years after his last outing, Technique returns with The 3rd World. Despite the prints of DJ Green Lantern all over the disc, this is a complete album in mix tape form. And with this year being a critical year in the history of the United States–and by extension, the rest of the world–this album comes at the perfect time and may prove to be one of the most important releases of 2008.
Powered by a single which share’s the album’s name, Technique takes listeners around the world, outlining atrocities that “makes the hood in America look like paradise.” “I’m from where they lost the true meaning of the Qur’an/cause heroine is not compatible with Islam/and niggas know that but grow that poppy seed anyway/cause that food wrapped parachute does not come every day,” he spits on the opening verse. Also thrown in are lines about the sex trade and if you thought Coke–as in the soda–didn’t have blood on its hands, think again. The 3rd World alone provides enough Google worthy material to keep one busy for hours–but that’s just the beginning.
“Harlem Renaissance” is another standout track that serves as an autobiography of the world famous New York area, outlining the glory days and concluding with the current efforts to gentrify the historic city. In an era where diamonds and rings dominate, “Renaissance” provides a teachable moment for anyone not up on American history.
The 3rd World shows a real progression in Immortal Technique‘s music. Production on the album outshines his past efforts, allowing the lyrics to stand out more. But the gems of the album are found in the numerous collaborations. In the past, Technique opted to go for self, but enlists the help of others for this outing. The Crooked I and Chino XL assisted “Lick Shots” is one of the best tracks of the album with all three men bringing their A games into the booth. Equal parts pointed lyricism and comedy, Tech rhymes “I’ll paint the white house black and park my car on the lawn/I’ll marry a Muslim girl and fuck her five times a day/right before we shower and pray.” Even with solid verses from Technique and Crooked I its Chino XL who steals the show. “Y’all don’t lick shots like killers aiming at the feds/y’all lick shots like Jenna Jameson and Superhead.” Rewind worthy indeed. “Payback” is also a provocative cut, taking aim at everyone from gangsters (“and everyone flashing a gun on a DVD, I’ll make them niggas shoot it out with NYPD”) to George W. Bush, whom Technique urges to “kill yourself.”
One of the staples of Immortal Technique albums are the commentaries, and The Third World provides no exception. “Open Your Eyes” ties the seldom reported on developing countries to the seldom seen–and seldom heard–underground world of Hip Hop. “Parole” offers a glimpse into prison life not often glorified in many of today’s songs: getting out–and staying out. “Mistakes” and “Reverse Pimpology” also do not fail to disappoint, and for listeners who want a twist on the music, “Golpe De Estado” brings the Revolución in Español.
At times, the mixing and scratches detract from the The 3rd World, but aren’t enough to take anything away from the album. Hardcore Technique fans will love this, and new fans will come away with a wealth of knowledge–just make sure to keep the search feature handy if you bump this on the computer.