Immortal Technique

Revolutionary Vol. 2 (Viper)

Like their punk-rock brethren, "conscious" rappers are fond of making flat-earth statements about overthrowing the government and obtaining some form of abstract justice for the people. But it's not Harlem rapper Immortal Technique's ability to spew well-written calls to kill the pigs that makes him so deadly; instead it's allegations like "Condoleezza Rice is just a New Age Sally Hemmings," which makes a devastating comparison between the national security advisor's subordinate position to President Bush and Thomas Jefferson's infamous slave lover. It's next-level lyrics like this that have helped his second album, Revolutionary Vol. 2 -- released on counterculture playwright Jonathan Stuart's Viper Records -- generate a huge buzz within New York rap circles hungry for an MC with raw talent capable of voicing leftist political opinions.

Opening with an intro by Death Row inmate and prison activist Mumia Abu-Jamal, Revolutionary Vol. 2 exults in the kind of contradictions that arise when you dissect your opponent without putting yourself under the microscope. On "Crossing the Boundary" he begins, "I never make songs that dis women," then he warns on "Obnoxious," "That's your girl/Come over here, bitch, give me some brains!" Heads will excuse such transgressions, however, as mere details within a larger, more complex picture of an angry young man taking aim at the world, at the government, and at himself, making him the most dangerous kind of radical: one who seemingly has nothing to lose.

 
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