Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/537/6140

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 June 2008

Gig review

Immortal Technique at the Coronet, London 4 June 2008

Today's music is often accused of lacking the integrity, provocative thought and political anger of 'the good old days', with hip-hop being first in the firing line.

Michael Wrack

Indeed, on the surface, the slide from Public Enemy's sharply political 1989 track Fight the Power to Fifty Cent's somewhat less political Get Rich or Die Trying in less than 20 years would seem a huge degeneration of consciousness. But, as with anything, the truth is more complex.

While the commercial success of the genre has inevitably led to a watered-down version flooding the charts, the spirit of Chuck D and Public Enemy has not been completely lost. Beneath the mainstream lies a whole range of artists who still believe hip-hop can be the soundtrack to political activism, led by the likes of The Coup, Dead Prez, and Immortal Technique.

The Peruvian-born, Harlem-bred Immortal Technique calls himself a socialist, and backs this up, not just in his lyrics, but also his actions. He has consistently refused to sign a deal with a major record label, not just because they would edit his explicitly revolutionary ideas, but also so he doesn't become, what he sees as, an exploited employee of a record company who see art purely as profit.

The fact that 2,000 people, mostly youth (black and white, male and female), have come to see him in London flies in the face of the accepted idea of an apolitical generation.

As soon as he walks on stage, with the stars-and-stripes turned upside down on his t-shirt, it's clear that he has something to say and won't be stopped from saying it.

Without an introduction he immediately starts an a cappella freestyle, taking in everything from an attack on the racist science of eugenics, a call of solidarity for the international anti-imperialist resistance, the lies of the war on terror, and his unique, previously stated interpretation of the record industry, all in less than two minutes.

It's a highlight of the gig that he performs a number of these a cappella freestyles throughout the night. One is full of the inevitable Bush-baiting, but also makes it clear Technique has no expectations in Barack Obama, and understands that the whole system needs to be changed. Another explains the profit system and calls for nationalisation of all industries, right down to the music industry. In yet another he turns his wrath to the dictatorships around the world who rule under the false title of communism.

The majority of the full tracks he performs are taken from his forthcoming album The 3rd World. He explains the title as his way of calling for increased solidarity of the working classes in the US and Europe with the poor masses of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia.

With the focus on new songs, he only performs a few older ones, but when he does they raise the roof. Introducing the horrific drug addiction, rape and murder-referencing Dance with the Devil, Technique tells a truth that few in hip-hop would; "for people who talk about the hood because they think it means you're hard, it doesn't. It just means your parents are poor."

Perhaps the biggest cheer is reserved for his post-9/11 classic Tell the Truth, with its chorus shouts of "Bin Laden didn't blow up the projects, it was you" and "Bush knocked down the towers". This isn't the rantings of a conspiracy theorist who thinks George Bush was actually involved in the acts of 9/11, but it is Immortal Technique recognising that the neo-con policies of the US administration are what led to the terrorist acts, and also the huge attacks they've inflicted on the working population of the US.

Immortal Technique is clearly aware that his gigs are a rarity in having so many young people singing along to songs from the perspective of a socialist revolutionary. He tells the audience that coming to his show does not make them a revolutionary, and asks them to carry on the struggle in their lives.

The show ends with the truly unique sight of 2,000 people facing the exit door, their right hand raised high in a fist, being led by Technique in a chant of "Viva la revolucion! Viva la revolucion!"

Socialist Party members leafleted at the gig for the 'Love Music Hate Racism' demonstration on 21 June and for the London Youth Against Racism gig on Saturday 14 June. Most people thanked us for doing this and a number signed up to get involved in anti-racist campaigning.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 11 June 2008:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Stop the NHS sell-off

Banking on NHS profits

My pain - and privatisation


Anti-racism

Racist BNP have no solutions!


Socialist Party editorial

Will Obama win?

Obama declares victory, and shifts to the right


Socialist Party campaigns

"Anti-terror" laws are no solution


Defend Tommy Sheridan

Stirring rally backs Tommy Sheridan

Unison witch-hunt hits Northern Ireland


Campaign for a New Workers Party

Come to the Campaign for a New Workers' Party Conference

New Labour's parallel universe

Waltham Forest protest

Them & Us


Socialist Party youth and students

Underfunding youth facilities: It makes no sense!


Socialist Party feature

Oil price shock - the chaos of capitalism

Sudan's poor paying the price for oil

Fast news


Socialist Party review

Immortal Technique at the Coronet, London 4 June 2008


Socialist Party workplace news

Usdaw needs a fighting leadership

Organise to fight the public-sector pay robbery

National Shop Stewards Network second conference

Fujitsu workers strike to save jobs

The costs of privatisation

Brighton bus drivers strike


 

Home   |   The Socialist 11 June 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

13/12/17

The Socialist

The Socialist's 2017 quiz

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

15/11/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

15/11/17

Abortion

TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

15/11/17

Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict

8/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/11/17

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

8/11/17

Theatre

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

1/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Dec Blairite council 'all ears' to rich property developers

triangle16 Dec Arriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2