Immortal Technique – The 3rd World [Review]

Immortal Technique - The 3rd World

He’s probably the most decorated unheard of rapper in the history of Hip-Hop. He also is very angry. Immortal Technique IS the mad rapper. He’s not mad from hate, but mad about the state of all things political. Tech makes his moves on the underground scene with songs and topics that are usually too socially risky for radio. With the title of The 3rd World, I wonder if this is more of the same.

Death March
Featuring & Produced by DJ Green Lantern
Lantern hosts this mixtape/street album and does some scratching on this track that sets the tone. An ominous sounding, march worthy beat is dressed with heated lyrics about the treatment of those from “3rd World Countries” as well as naming names. It’s a pretty dope song that keeps ya head in motion.

That’s What It Is
Produced by Spectacular
A seamless transition into Lantern offering up some comedy. HOLLA! Don’t you get tired of hearing niggas say that shit all the time? Why don’t you shut the fuck up and rhyme nigga! Well, he’s right. Anyway, this song is Hip-Hop. We have some well done scratching, dope vocal contributions, and a relentless beat. Add to that, lyrics that mention King Tut, Oliver North, and Icarus in the same flow. That’s some lyrical dexterity for ya’ ass.

Golpe De Estado
Featuring Temperamento & Veneneo; Produced by Southpaw
I had to look up as much translation as I could for this song, which is not in English. You can tell by the track that features an incessant beat and a family of horns and trumpets that mimic triumph from the outset to the sunset, that this track is not for play. Translated, it’s hard to tell if it’s wizardry of lyrical manipulation that likens a musical revolution to a real life coup and revolution by the people OR if he is really trying to insight a revolution. Whatever he is trying to inspire, he does speak the truth. When they control business and culture/Music becomes commercial garbage.

Harlem Renaissance
Produced by DJ Green Lantern
As a man that grew up in Harlem, Tech takes time out this track to do a little teaching about one of the greatest time periods for brown people ever. Correction, it is an important time in the history of the country, but especially for brown folk. The track is more musical, along the lines of an R&B type feel, but still really simple. Its okay, I think more could have been done on such an important track, but it’s not bad. The talk of gentrification and our historical importance is wrapped up with a sound byte at the end that says “…people of Harlem, they are the natural allies of the oppressed people of the world…We spend money with the wrong people, we are looking for love with people that don’t love us….”

Lick Shots
Featuring Chino XL & Crooked I; Produced by Southpaw
Southpaw comes back with a nice track. This beat keeps it simple and respects the street, revolutionary lyrics of this track complete with some gunfire in the background. I didn’t even really notice the gunfire in the background until I listened really closely, well done Southpaw. The chorus is rough and grimy, “Lick Shots Lick Shots Lick Shots for the revolution!” but not necessarily good. Chino and Crooked I max out their appearance and really outshine Tech on this one.

Apocrypha (Interlude)
Produced by Sick Jacken of Sick Symphonies

3rd World
Produced by Green Lantern
Damn. Tech paints an eerie picture of his birthplace and those 3rd World Countries that we claim to have an idea about, but clearly we have no idea. A lot his anger is explained here and at the same time, he does some teaching as well. This is a helluva single.

Hollywood Driveby
Featuring Psycho Realm & Street Platoon; Produced by Shuko
Over a track that reminds me of “Smile” by Scarface, we hear Immortal lashing out at the rap game and the many fakers in the biz. He talks about industry slaves, lyrics with no substance…and revolution. I dig the song, the ill ass intro verse and scratch work done on Psycho Realms verse and Street Platoon is not to be outdone either. Yet another well done cameo appearance.

Reverse Pimpology
Featuring Mojo
I’d rather be rich and unhappy than broke and pitiful…nice intro verse to the song. Immortal acknowledges that he spits much conspiracy theory but sticks to his claims of validity in the next lines. The track is well done and is more of an R&B sound. There is an unexpected deep bass drop in the track that somehow manages to make the shit even better. Another well produced track from top to bottom, no complaints here.

Open Your Eyes
Produced by Mes One
Enter the spoken word. There is a track playing in the background along with a spooky sounding vocal, but this is just Immortal Technique talking over a beat. Interesting to say the least…and Immortal, I think you may have finally made the black list with this one fam. If Mandela is on our terrorist list, I GOTTA think you are on that shit fam.

The Payback
Featuring Diabolic & Ras Kass; Produced by Bronze Nazereth
FEMA, we haven’t forgotten. From the offset, you know wassup…as if the title was somehow misleading. This song is not so much about revolution as it is about retribution and reaping what you sow. Oh, and for those that don’t know WHY folks say WE made Bin Laden, turn this joint up.

Adios, Uncle Tom (Skit)

Stronghold Grip
Featuring Poison Pen & Swave Sevah
Personally, I don’t like much about this song. I get it, but I just don’t like the execution. The track sounds horror movie inspired and seems to get annoying by the end of its 4:04 mark. Poison Pen and Swave Sevah do okay, but nothing to write home about.

One of my favorite tracks on the album. The track and hook would coax you into feeling happy and lighthearted about subjects that are anything but. Tech is up to his usual tricks here. He takes only a breath to go from once scenario to the next as we see a “lighter” side of Tech.

Out On Parole
Lantern mixes another winner. The beat is plodding and dominant and dares you to sit still. A lot of the songs here seem to be yin and yang in terms of subject and music, but this one seems to be better matched. It’s hard to find anything bad to say about this track.

Crimes Of The Heart
Featuring Maya Azucena
This track really exemplifies the difference in this album and Immortals previous work. The production is much better and explorative with Tech’s sound. Maya pours it on with her vocals and ads the perfect amount of soul to this winner. Immortal does some more of his dope storytelling on this one about people and situations….to make it short and sweet. I think that the track will win him a few new listeners.

Rebel Arms (Hidden Track)
Featuring Da Circle & J. Arch
This song is dope as hell. More shots fired over a more traditional sounding beat. Lyrically, amazing. I won’t ruin this one though. You NEED this song.

Bottom Line:

Once you get passed the fact that Immortal, who seems to have taken aim at the commercialism of Hip-Hop (and others), used DJ Green Lantern for this album, you realize that the production value is the biggest winner in all this. With a consistent message of revolution, respect, skill, government abuse, etc., one would imagine that you would get tired, but the tracks keep it fresh. Immortal has, somehow, stepped his game up even more than previous albums and with well placed cameos, this album is solid and should be in the running for album of the year, here at least. It’s really refreshing to hear this album over the beating that Hip-Hop has taken in the past few years. This album may be 3rd World by affiliation, but its 1st Class in my book.

nappyPicks: “That’s What It Is”, “Harlem Renaissance”, “Reverse Pimpology”, “Payback”, “Mistakes”, “Out on Parole”, & “Rebel Arms”

Download: Immortal Technique feat. Mojo – “Reverse Pimpology”