PREVIEW Peruvian-born, Harlem-raised rapper Immortal Technique, né Felipe Coronel, long ago broke with the TRL mold of spitting about bitches and ho’s, instead looking to the roots of hip-hop with his politically minded tracks.
On his third full-length, The 3rd World (Viper), he covers such topics as the gentrification of his Harlem hood and corruption in the music industry. The opener establishes him as a renegade in the rap world where it’s common to have an intro be it the sound of bullets blasting or a slutty skit. Instead, the "Death March" is a forceful, beat-driven anthem that introduces its characters (Immortal Technique and DJ Green Lantern), dedicates the album (to the people of Latin American nations that have been tampered with by this country), and sets the stage for what is to come next (urban/guerrilla warfare and an album about it).
"Open Your Eyes" looks at the life of immigrants who are promised a better life in the states but come to realize that "privatization and electricity" do not equate to happiness, and explores the abuse of natural resources and indigenous peoples overseas. "Lick Shots," while not the strongest track on 3rd World with its annoying repeated refrain, goes for laughs with couplets like, "Marry a Muslim girl and fuck her five times a day / Every time right before we shower and pray." "Crimes of the Heart" gets slightly personal with an honest love story of a lonely two-timer "breaking hearts on the way to enlightenment," which Immortal Technique uses as a simile for an isolated republic. A little less narrative-bound but still hard-hitting and with a more polished production than Immortal Technique’s previous recordings, 3rd World offers hope for listeners who yearn for a return to music with a message. As the old adage goes, actions speak louder than words, and Immortal Technique remains true to his tunes with this concert for Afghanistan’s Children of War in partnership with Omeid International.
IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE with Hasan Salaam, Da Circle, Ras Ceylon, and DJ GiJoe. Thurs/20, 9:30 p.m., $19$22. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., SF. (415) 626-1409, www.dnalounge.com