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One-on-One with Immortal Technique

By FinalCall.com News | Last updated: Jun 7, 2013 - 12:52:55 PM

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One man's journey to combat injustice using music

(FinalCall.com) - Immortal Technique is well known among those who appreciate music with a message. With a DVD out chronicling his life’s journey, the ‘(R)evolution of Immortal Technique’ goes behind the scenes chronicling one man’s journey, to combat injustice using music. Immortal Technique is headed to the United Kingdom for a series of tour dates (June 7-21) but prior to making that voyage, he answered some questions for The Final Call’s Ashahed M. Muhammad.

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Ashahed M. Muhammad The Final Call (FC:) Why do you think it has been so easy for you to use hip-hop in general, and specifically rap, to express your religious, political, and social beliefs?

Immortal Technique (IT:) I don’t think that it has been easy in the sense that this path was made available to me without resistance. After all, as a Hip-Hop artist, the encouragement to go independent isn’t something that is advertised for us. We are still living in the past instead of seeing how we could effectively use the premise of owning our own business to then redirect those resources built from capital that is a part of this system to reinforce the investment in our own community. We are still trying to fund the Revolution with Hip-Hop shows, newsletters and bake sales. I do not promote a religious view, rather I ask of the people of all faiths to understand what it truly means to believe in God.

Being a Muslim isn’t just about praying 5 times a day, or acting holier than thou. It is holding onto your principles and the love you have for the good things you must represent, and the people, even when it is difficult to do so and the temptation of the quick and corrupt path comes. Being a person of the Jewish faith is not centered around the revisionist history of being willing to betray all tenants of those moral boundaries that guide us, to fight over a piece of land. It involves a deep, spiritual bond with God and the logic and reason to accept that amazingly powerful and proud responsibility of carrying those out in life. The conscious of mankind is alive in all faiths. Being a born-again Christian doesn’t mean you have carte blanche and all your sins are just washed clean. You cannot just brush the horribly negative things you have done to others and yourself with the “I’ve been forgiven” line. You wish it was that simple. Rather it presents an opportunity for you to atone, and to confront the wicked and irresponsible things you have done. It is the hope you have, to fight for the forgiveness of others, not just callously claim you have no need to ever confront your past. That is not something that can be said in a prayer or done by revising the parts of history which paint your faith or your people in a bad light. It must be done with action.

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I used these three examples of religion because they are the most familiar in America, but I could cite other examples. I am not here to give favor to one or the other, they all have their place and the equal amount of respect in the eyes of a human being who really understands what we are as a human race and how we will survive. 

As for politics, I cannot say that I am out there petitioning for ignorance rather for the digestion of information that leads people to their own conclusions. 

(FC:) Why do you think your lyrical content connects so well with those who are against the establishment, and would be classified as revolutionary?

(IT:) Because I am not here to spare anyone from criticism. Nor am I here to tear anyone down for their race, faith, sex, etc. The music I make has a very resounding message to everyone which is, that somewhere along the way us, as a species of people, started picking what was ‘good for business’ rather than what was good for the people. The first ten articles of The Constitution—or rather the Bill of Rights—which was the benchmark of this supposedly free society, was violated when it came to addressing the needs of the first Americans. The human beings turned into property by this corrupt state and is now being violated again, not by the people themselves but rather the powers that be which find themselves in a position which is much harder to deprive us of those guaranteed rights. A Revolutionary thinks outside of the box, while staying connected to the people still trapped inside one. I have achieved a small part of that, so maybe I am just beginning my journey as a Revolutionary.

(FC:) I never got to really speak with you regarding your work with Omeid International (www.omeid.org) on the establishment of the orphanage in Afghanistan, but  now three or four years later, what is the update? How are things there and do you have plans to go back?

(IT:) Thank you for asking about the orphanage. It has been a resounding success, and has changed the lives of dozens of children and also those that have worked so tirelessly to create a new and powerful message to the world. That even without some gigantic corporate entity, we can make the changes we wish to see in the world.

I would love to return to Afghanistan, but it will not be easy since the first visit and my trips to Venezuela and Haiti have made it a little bit harder to travel. But I am confident that I will make a return visit when the school is renovated later in the year. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a very big show towards the end of the year in order to facilitate some more support for them. It is a cause that is close to my heart and something I hope people will remember and then make an effort to do in their own community. 

(FC:) With militia groups exploding, anti-immigrant sentiment growing, increased racial polarization, along with increased wealth disparities, in your view, where is America headed? 

(IT:) Probably down the road of violence and action without self-reflection, unless the people are yanked away from their solitary lives of disconnected reality, that which benefits only the people that are trying to just keep people controlled, one way or another. I think all the people in this country, of every so-called race and walk of life, would benefit greatly from understanding something beyond the mythology of America. The stage is set for the collapse of Democracy in all but name only, and I find that utterly unacceptable. I don’t know where that leads us ultimately, but I know that it cannot be a positive thing if we are unorganized and divided.

(For tour dates, to purchase the DVD, download music or contact Immortal Technique, go to www.ViperRecords.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @ImmortalTech.)

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