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Immortal Technique Interview (talks the N-Word, GOAT, & Eminem's Racist Tapes)

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 06-25-2005, 02:25 PM         #1
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Immortal Technique Interview (talks the N-Word, GOAT, & Eminem's Racist Tapes)

One of the most recognized names in underground revolutionary hip-hop worldwide; Immortal Technique doesn’t need much of an intro. Rapstation caught up with Tech for an update and discussion on topics ranging from Reggaeton’s relationship with Hip-Hop, Eminem & the N-word, The Masonic foundations of the US, the Greatest MC of all time...and a potential collabo with Public Enemy. Hold tight; I.T. tears through these subjects like they were competitors at an MC battle.

Rapstation: Let's kick it off with what's new with Immortal Technique. You got a new album ‘The Middle Passage’ and DVD coming out. When is that and what details can you reveal about them? Any special collabos that might peek the interest of Public Enemy fans?

I.T.: The album drops in late summer, and the DVD has been rescheduled for release after the album. That way we can include lots of new footage from the making of ‘Revolutionary Vol.2’ and ‘The Middle Passage'. In terms of PE, I did something short for their new album on a song that Paris produced, but I can't really say anything else about it right now...

Rapstation: You just rocked the Warped Tour and are about to rep hip-hop at the Coachella festival (April 30). Everyone asks MCs about hip-hop; I want to know what you're into right now in regards to rock or other genres of music outside hip-hop. Any acts on Warped catch your eye? You have a powerful enough voice; would you ever rock with a band? IT w/ Ozomatli would be an interesting Molotov cocktail.

I.T.: I have heard that name but I have never really listened to their music (Ozomatli). As for bands on the Warped Tour I went around and listened but the music they played wasn't really my thing. A few songs here and there were interesting but I learned a lot about hustle and grind. n1ggaz had to pack up right after our show and drive literally 8 hours to get to the next place. That sh1t wasn't fun for us. Me and Akir, and my old A&R were not fu#king around. We got disciplined, and we saw how some cats on the big buses that just lounged all day took their spot for granted. Some of them were just like us though, nothing but focus. Non-Phixion was that way too. That's why me and them dudes get along; we have a similar work ethic.

Rapstation: Who would you say is the one MC who most inspired you to pick up a mic. In addition, whom do you view as the greatest who ever did it?

I.T.: No MC inspired me to do this. I did this because I could and because I had to in order to live. You try getting a job on parole in America. In terms of my GOAT it's always been between KRS-One and Rakim, but I'm a lyricist. Others see Ice-T ‘cause they love that pimp sh1t. People look to Biggie, Pac, Jay because they can't remember someone like Kane or Slick Rick; PE, RUN-DMC or Melle Mel. Some younger dudes and people trying to be sarcastic say these people aren't relevant anymore. But without their foundation and their insight this game would have no roots. Imagine a people like Black or Latino people without context for who they are. No history, nothing to make them realize that they had a history before slavery and they weren't just animals civilized by white people. That's what rap would be without the founders of this. I learn a lot from any true school artist I come across. People emulate the MC that reflects what they go through or something they have always had interest in. Lots of suburban white kids on the internet love 50 Cent, Dipset, G-Unit. These dudes ain't never slang crack or held a tech, they just like those rappers and use their slang that someone explained to them in a chatroom. Then again poverty has no color and some of these kids may have some fu#ked up sh1t going on in their lives. Some may have families torn up by drugs. While on the other hand some rich, black and Latino kids may identify with the bling bling aspect of things because they look at that as a reflection of monetary success. At the end of the day the GOAT isn't decided by race or by location; although people tend to show their area more love. It's a personal decision based on what you take out of the music.

Rapstation: Classism or racism? On "The Poverty Of Philosophy" you mention; "As much as racism bleeds America we need to understand that classism is the real issue." This sparked some debate on the PE site. Can you further expound on why you see classism as more of a threat than racism?

I.T.: Without classism racism cannot exist. Without racism, classism finds another carrier for its virus. The principles this nation was founded on, liberty (for whites) and the freedom of religion (different practices of Christianity); were something that comes from a Masonic foundation.

All the founding fathers were Masons who believed in God as being ‘the great architect’ more than the distorted ‘immaculate conception’ theory. Our country here has overcome so many early flaws and we always talk about combating racism (we rarely do). But nowadays it's not politically correct to be a racist unless you do it tactfully and attack the things about black and Latino people that you may find sympathy for.

Affirmative action and Immigration for example, are perfect ways for white people to express their evolved state of racism. But classism isn't even addressed. It exists and is the very foundation of America, the right of one to have much more than the other.

There will always be poor people around you; the world is set up that way, even Christ said it (Matt:26). Even in countries with a socialist or communist frame, classism is there. Giving life to one over another, not on merit of personal ability or human right, but simple wealth. If OJ Simpson was white, he may have gotten off easier and not been hounded by the media AS MUCH. But if he was broke he'd be another n1gga in jail that America don't give a fu#k about. Of course I'm not the final word that's just a piece of it, I'd love to talk about it more...

Rapstation: The N-word, some in hip-hop refuse to use it based on its history. Yet others see the colloquial use as a different animal; this includes Dead Prez and others deemed "political". Then there's the Eminem controversy. What's your stance on the word?

I.T.: I can definitely see how an older generation of Black Americans can find disgust in that word, it was something that white people for 350 years until only 30 years ago were not out of place to address a black person as. There are parts of America where you hear it a lot and not in a greeting form. In one respect it was used to dehumanize someone, to make them feel as if they were less of a man because they were black. As if black people didn ’t create the foundation of everything that Europe can stand on. I am not one of these people that blame America for all of the world’s problems. The European colonial powers ruined Africa and used it as their bread basket since the days of the Roman Empire. A word is nothing relative to action. I grew up being called that by the people in Harlem. "Yo n1gga pass me the ball"; "I got that n1gga on my team, he got a jumpshot"; "peace n1gga"...I heard it used both ways. I have had cops call me a "???? ??????" and this was when I was about 12. As for Eminem; being Peruvian with African roots in my blood I was disappointed at that sh1t. But nothing was worse than the white kids who tried to defend him. It IS possible to be racist and "have black friends" or hang out with black and Latinos. Racism isn't about white sheets, anti-Semitism isn't about being a n@zi; it's a subtle reality woven into our common understanding and it’s implanted in our minds from our raising. I use that word in my music, not ‘cause I'm part black but because I have always used it in my way of speaking. But the difference in my usage is that one day I would like to stop using it. I have begun filtering it out of my dialect ‘cause I wouldn't want to address my children like that. I'm Peruvian and Black. I come from a history of Indigenous people that redefined stone masonry, calculated planet alignment and a people who gave birth to the world. That word is too small to define one’s self once you reach a certain mental state. But I'm still living in the hood and dealing with real sh1t so when people act like they want it, I show them just what kinda muthafu#kin n1gga I am.


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