First Listen: Immortal Technique – The 3rd World

(Follow this link to Evolving Music’s interview with Immortal Technique.)
(Follow this link to the full album review of Immortal Technique’s “The 3rd World”.)

Following the announcement of the release date of the upcoming Immortal Technique album (June 24th), us media types were treated to a few tracks to introduce us to what could be the most anticipated independent album in years. And when I say independent, I’m not talking about a rapper on an underground label. I’m talking about a rapper who sold his CDs on the street and now refuses to sign with a label that could provide more exposure as it might infringe on his message and mission. However, with the announcement that a large amount of production for the album was completed by Jay-Z’s DJ Green Lantern, it had yet to be seen if Immortal Technique could stick to his guns amid production that on previous albums had been handled by far more independent names like Southpaw and 44 Caliber.
The press release was accompanied by a quote from “The Payback,” “I make rap about lyrics not beats and marketing.” And after listening to this track, “The 3rd World,” and “Reverse Pimpology,” there is no question that regardless of the beat behind him, Immortal Technique will not change his message or the power in his lyrics.
On the first listen, I liked the songs, but was concerned. These didn’t sound like Immortal Technique songs I had heard off the first two albums. The beats are more accessible, and even in an unmastered format, are a bit more polished than some of the more basic tracks off the two Revolutionary albums. On previous releases, while there are numerous tracks that grab musically from the first beat (“Caught in the Hustle,” “No Me Importa, “Obnoxious,” and “Harlem Streets” to name a few), one of the staples of the style is that the beats are more of a backdrop for Tech’s lyrics than anything else, and appreciation for them is derived mainly from how he sounds over them.
So when “The Payback” comes on with a vintage hook that could have come out of a Kanye song and laid back horns, the initial auditory reaction is to think the lyrics are going to follow those pop sensible lines. But when he opens in typical Tech fashion, “I want to run for President and the focal point when I’m campaignin’/is to put FEMA to work on plantation at Camp David,” it becomes clear that nothing has changed but the background, and even that difference is then altered by Tech’s forceful delivery and unmistakable style. By the end of the cut, as much as you could imagine hearing the beat on a radio station, Tech has made it completely his own, and you can’t imagine someone rapping about women, money or any of the other surface level topics popular in the genre today. The song is all the stronger for it.
The first beats of “The 3rd World,” while retaining the ragga-street melody style of tracks like “Peruvian Cocaine,” employs a thump and kick beat that’s harder and more fleshed out than Tech listeners are used to hearing. His mastery of lyrics, both in how he fuses lines and words together while never losing sight of his content, is again in full display here with lines like, “from where the bombs that they used to drop on Vietnam/Still has children born deformed 8 months before they’re born.”
When the initial reaction is to the first few measures of music, it’s easy to forget why you’re listening. So much of hip-hop today is based on listenable production that masks otherwise impotent lyrics. For a second you think you’ve stumbled into one of these before you remember that you’re listening because it’s an Immortal Technique track. And when you remember that fact, you start listening and realizing that not only is he the same rapper from the previous two albums, but he’s better because his message and delivery is truly incredible regardless of the beat he chooses. In short, these songs take an already potent lyricism and delivery and drive them home with an increased versatility derived from new musical landscapes behind them.
While Revolutionary Vol. 1 and 2 were perfect for his style and his message, they are largely an extension of each other. With these first three tracks from The 3rd World, Tech demonstrates an ability to adapt over any beat, and when he spits that he “makes rap about lyrics not beats and marketing,” the idea behind the new album and his collaboration with Green Lantern becomes more clear. He doesn’t care what he raps over, as long as his words are heard, and he doesn’t care who sells his album because he knows it will get out there if his message remains strong. While on a first listen these songs might shock Immortal Technique fans, the second and third listen reveal lyrics that are just as potent as the previous releases, packaged in beats that will change the way you listen to him. The elements of government conspiracy, poverty and disrespect to the major labels all show flashes here, and any concern that Tech would get soft in his lyrics or his delivery is washed away instantly.
With production coming from Green Lantern, Southpaw and Buckwild, and every indication that Immortal Technique’s strength as a lyricist and ideas as a revolutionary have not waned in the years since Revolutionary Vol. 2, I can tell you already that these three tracks make an excellent starting point for what is shaping up to be a forceful album. June 24th, Viper records, Immortal Technique, The 3rd World. Just to be fair, I’ve also heard bits of the tracks “Mistakes,” “Death March,” “Lick Shots,” and “Golpe de Estado,” but I’m not going to ruin the entire anticipation for the album here!

For a review of the full album, click here.


18 Responses to “First Listen: Immortal Technique – The 3rd World”

  1. 1 Miguel Lopez May 18, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    i’m exited to hear the songs

  2. 2 Hip Hop May 18, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    The man is the truth!

  3. 3 Da Movement May 18, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    third world is insane!

  4. 4 Knowledge May 18, 2008 at 9:24 pm


    I just listened to your new single about the 3rd world. I liked it alot, and I look forward to hearing all of your new work coming out. I would also like to say that I really do appreciate the message you’re putting out there. Your music helps me to open my mind to things I don’t normally think about. I’m into politics and current events too, but I need to organize my train of thought and to mature some if I ever hope to half the revolutionary you are. I hope you come to Florida next time you tour, I’ll be sure to be there.

    Even though I come from an upper middle class European background, you’re very inspiring to me and I do look up to you. (a hell of a lot better idol than Emenim was when i was in high school) So keep on keepin on and I’ll do the same.

    D. Francis Cook

  5. 5 Topolska18 May 19, 2008 at 5:23 am

    Man you just proved that u are d best.Greets from Serbia,fight for Kosovo because it’s our holy land don’t let them tell you lies…

  6. 6 northwest side mic May 22, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    yo tech,
    you even got us irish mics on the northwest side of chicago waiting for the 3rd world. shit will get us amped up to unite with the blacks and latinos and take over the whole city! can’t wait for this to drop!

  7. 8 blak June 24, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Download that shit, Don’t fuckn buy it.. You’re a pussy if you do- Technique’s words

  8. 9 ACtual June 24, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Blak – If you read the Immortal Technique interview we posted on this site, you’d see that Tech only advocates downloading in the case that you can’t afford the album. Obviously, as CEO of his own record label, and an artist supported by his album and merchandise revenue, Tech would appreciate the support of buying his music.

  9. 10 blak June 26, 2008 at 10:06 am

    I cant buy it anyway, the CIA blacklisted my country from buying online. I’m sure you’ve heard of 419 scams.

  10. 11 blak June 26, 2008 at 10:43 am

    and fuck u.. u can’t have the honest expectation that people should view all the content on this site.I was quoting from another interview tech did.

    thanks for nothin, I was just looking for a review of tech’s album so that I don’t waste my shitty internet connection, and all u did was ride his nutsack

  11. 12 actualmusic June 26, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Blak – No need to say “fuck you.” I’m not trying to start a fight with you, I’m just trying to point out that while Tech does advocate burning in certain cases where it’s the only way to get the music, to advocate everyone steal the album, while maybe that’s what he had in mind several years ago, has changed now.

    In terms of “riding his nutsack,” you came looking for a review of the album. My review was an honest expression of my personal opinion of the album. Would you prefer I lie and say it sucks? I think this album, start to finish, is one of the stronger albums I’ve heard from any genre in recent months, both lyrically and musically.

    I hope you have a chance to listen to it and form your own opinion, be it positive or negative.

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  1. 1 Immortal Technique: The 3rd World Release Date « .Evolving Music. Trackback on May 15, 2008 at 10:36 am
  2. 2 What I’m Hearing, Vol. 2 « .Evolving Music. Trackback on May 20, 2008 at 11:34 pm
  3. 3 Immortal Technique Interview, Part 1 « .Evolving Music. Trackback on June 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm
  4. 4 Immortal Technique - The 3rd World Review (full album) « .Evolving Music. Trackback on June 25, 2008 at 12:54 pm

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