September 23, 2021

Immortal Technique - Revolutionary Vol. 2 (2005 Reissue)

*Reissued in 2005 by Babygrande/Viper Records
Contains 18 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop, Political Hip-Hop
Label Number: BBG-CD-75
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

© 2003-2005 Babygrande/Viper Records
Review by Rollie Pemberton for
Rising from the Public Enemy phoenix that bore Mr. Lif, Dead Prez and The Coup, Immortal Technique borrows elements of the previously mentioned artists, along with rhyming capabilities reminiscent of Ras Kass and Canibus. Now, with the release of his second politically charged mission statement, Revolutionary Vol. 2, his gruff Latin baritone and powerful delivery have thrust him into the fortunate position of being a potential "next big thing."

Born in a military hospital in South America and sent to jail for more than a year for an altercation with a white man, IT's hoodlum mentality seems slightly more authentic than most anyone else in the underground (baring Bumpy Knuckles). Referencing biblical passages with the emotion of someone who reads and believes them (unlike Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks), IT is somehow believable in his radical position.

Whether rapping about the dark atmosphere of his adopted hometown ("Harlem Streets"), questioning the true nature of the artist's voice ("Freedom of Speech"), airing his issues with the media ("The 4th Branch") or simply claiming to be "the best of both worlds/ Without the hidden camera and the 12-year-old girl" ("Obnoxious"), Immortal Technique's magnetic delivery makes every song a joy to listen to. Criticizing critics, coffee shop revolutionaries, Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, John Ashcroft and George W. Bush, Technique delivers his message with a more commercially palatable hip-hop approach than Mr. Lif, if with less tact and subtlety.

A standout track is the mic-passing drug narrative "Peruvian Cocaine". Featuring Pumpkinhead, Diabolic and Poison Pen, among others, each rapper takes the place of someone different in the drug trafficking industry. From field worker to drug dealer to government official, each character expounds upon a common topic in one of the most excellent collaborations this side of the hip-hop world. The best verses come from the greatest flow in underground hip-hop, Tonedeff ("Come on, our fucking home was built on a foundation of bloody throats/ The hungry stolen of their souls, of course this country's running coke"), and the newest Def Jukie, C-Rayz Walz ("So enjoy the rush, live plush off coke bread/ Soon, you'll be in the cell with me like Jenny Lopez").

The only downside to Immortal's myriad song styles is the lack of charisma contained in his battle incarnation. On a song like "Obnoxious", meant to break the ice and display an IT track that you (yes, you) can put on at a party without being dragged behind a truck, he sounds ridiculously awkward. With a lame "We keepin' it live!" refrain, a relatively boring saloon boom-bap beat and an uninteresting "Wanksta"-parodying third verse, his obvious crossover cut (dope lyrics withstanding) fails at its purpose.

Unfortunately for Mr. Technique, the beats (Beat Bandits, Domingo, Omen, Southpaw) are hit-and-miss, running the gamut from the subtle, watery acoustic guitar and disturbingly common drums of "The 4th Branch" to the addictive, bouncy Beatnuts-styled romp of "Freedom of Speech" to the unpleasant electronic chimes and hues of "The Cause of Death". More often than not, the drums end up sounding out of place on the chosen sample or the samples themselves sound cheap. Most of the time, the backdrops are simply overpowered by Technique's voice. Suffice to say, this Public Enemy clearly does not have a Bomb Squad behind him.

Still, with Roc Raida, Jean Grae, Akir, and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal (!) aiding their voices (and scratches) to this album, and his own worthwhile vocal presence adding another soldier to the political emcee barracks, Immortal Technique's second album is a testament to the power of the independent voice in music. Although he tends to go overboard with the violent braggadocio ("Fuck you/ I hope someone you love dies"), could cut back on the skits and random shit-talking, and tighten up the production, his message still breaks through the issues to prove him one of the most promising new emcees in underground hip-hop.

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tags: immortal technique, revolutionary vol 2, 2003, 2005, reissue, flac,