Immortal Technique isn't your typical rapper. He raps about colonialism and racism rather than about girls and booze. Instead of spending money on chains and rims, he has wisely invested his money and given to humanitarian causes such as opening an orphanage/hospital in Afghanistan with Omeid International.
After returning to the U.S. from his trip to Afghanistan, and hitting up the stage at Soundset '09, Gimme Noise caught Technique, who was in rare form: on vacation -- in Minnesota. We chopped it up about his favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities, how he spends his time off, managing his investments, his love for classical music, and of course, revolution.
Gimme Noise: So you are taking some time off in MN? Did you catch a case of MN Nice?
Immortal Technique: I took a couple of days off because honestly, I don't very often get to do that. I work ALL THE TIME. My entire life is built around 'Objective, objective, mission complete. Objective, objective, mission complete.' But I've been here a bunch of times. The first time I came out to Minnesota, my boys back home were like "You're going to Minn....esota? Fuck is out there? And I was like, 'Yo, B, they made the call. I'll make the trip. I'll tell you when I get home." It was mad love. Then the first show I ever did at First Ave was something K Salaam set up-an event with Brother Ali... I like it out here. It's cool.
GN: What is you favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities?
IT: Pizza Luce.
GN: People have described you as a revolutionary artist, but what does that work really look like?
IT: When you talk about being revolutionary you're talking about getting things done in an unconventional manner...You are talking about taking an idea and reinventing it, or coming up with a brand new, original idea that you can give to the people. Revolutionary work is difficult because it puts you in direct conflict with the world of a performing artist. It's almost impossible. It is impossible, I'll say, to be a rock star and a revolutionary. And rap stars are the new rock stars. So, to go and fight that life, it's very difficult.
GN: What are some of the challenges?
IT: I am sometimes accused by my peoples as being way too serious, or I'm angry or I bark orders at muthafuckas, but I live in a world where everything is so serious and the stakes are so high that I can't afford the people around me to make mistakes, just like I can't afford to make mistakes. I'm so on my business and managing my investments, and putting my money into groups that are helping people...I bought my grandmother a house, I put my sister through college, paid off my father's car, bought hundreds of acres of land in South America...It's revolutionary work because we are not trying to do this with some corporation controlling everything. We are trying to do this independently; we are trying to change the actual face of the music industry- a revolution, within the industry itself, to prevent them from controlling the rest of the culture. And it is guerilla war, because I am not fighting this thing to win. I am hopelessly outnumbered, and I am fighting a war with nothing, compared to what they have. And yet, I have managed to stake certain ground and hold it. And be like "Y'all can have all that commercial shit, but this right here, is mine. And you have to act right. And if you don't, you'll have to get kicked the fuck out."
GN: While you are doing all of this traveling, what are you listening to on your most recent road trips?
IT: When I'm driving, I like anything from hip-hop to classical to opera. I've had Big L- 'The Big Picture,' I had some old DJ Clue mixtapes, Mozart's opera 'Don Giovanni.' I like Classical music- my mother used to play it for me when I was in the womb. I always grew up liking that sort of thing. People be bugged out when I'm in a tour van or some shit, blasting opera, just tearing down the highway. People are like "Yo man, what are you doing." I tell them, I just like this music, and if you don't like it, you can get the fuck out- find your own show.