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Immortal Technique – ABC2, Glasgow - 30th October 2012 (Live Review)

Friday, 02 November 2012 Written by Jonny Rimmer
Immortal Technique – ABC2, Glasgow - 30th October 2012 (Live Review)

Despite it being over ten years since he first dropped 'Revolutionary Vol. 1', New York rapper Immortal Technique remains an absolutely unique proposition in the world of hip hop. You could arguably that to merely label him as an MC is to do him a disservice; activist, pioneer and revolutionary are all applicable. And for all that his detractors might condescend to him for his brash nature and overtly political sentiments, Technique remains implacable in his goals and his mission statement – Viva La Revolucion!

ImageDespite this being Technique’s first ever trip to Scotland, there is an atmosphere from the get-go that something special is in the air. The venue is already packed out by the time local beat boxer, and ridiculously talented, Bigg Taj hits the stage. Beside him, Spee 69 and, briefly, Chad the Lad demonstrate the often overlooked talented lurking in the Scottish (and English) underground hip hop scenes. As well as hyping up the audience alongside Technique, Swave Sevah and Poison Pen also stand up on their own as a strong support act with the sort of rugged delivery and East Coast-styled beats that have been sadly purged out of the mainstream in recent years.

Despite this, Technique is on another plain entirely. His flow is incredible, as he reels off punchy metaphors and riotous soundbites with passionate enthusiasm, but his speeches are just as hard-hitting. His “radically” Socialist philosophy is embraced fervently by the Glasgow crowd – a Palestine flag is unveiled, every line is screamed back in Technique’s face; there’s even a few “Here we ****ing go” and “**** the pigs” chants to augment the mood, leading a bemused Technique to acknowledge that “I don’t know what y’all are saying, but I feel it”. The likes of ‘Peruvian Cocaine’ and ‘The Point of No Return’ may seem like teases when they’re swiftly abandoned for the next tangential point that Technique decides to make, but they’re worth it due to the energy of the overall show. As for his most controversial cuts: ‘Tell the Truth’ might scream conspiracy, with its provocative 9/11 sentiments, but if you cannot get with the programme by the latter end of the show, you’ll probably have already left – and Technique encourages such cynics to do so.

Hip hop culture is a phenomenon clearly present on both sides of the globe, and even Technique’s decision to rap in Spanish for a song is met with a roaring reception. Ignoring the actions of one overzealous individual who is thrown out for pushing, and customarily lambasted by Technique’s crew for doing so, the Scots prove a more than welcome match for Technique’s lyrical thunder. Whatever some might make of Technique’s left leaning lyrics, his style is certainly preferable to the nihilistic shock rap of the likes of OFWGKTA. His politics might not be every person’s bag, but his consciously revolutionary lyrics and “swagger with purpose” attitude are still enough to tick many a hip hop fan’s boxes, and in Scotland, his shameless blasphemies go down an absolute treat.

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