Immortal Technique played The Sugar Club as part of his State Terrorism Tour on Leeson St to a sold out show on Thursday 24th July 2014. A further date was added for the following night due to popular demand. He was joined by DJ Static, Hasan Salaam and Constant Flow. Immortal Technique has garnered quite a following in Ireland and across the world as a respected veteran of the hip hop genre as well as a philanthropist and an activist against injustice.. His impassioned, articulate and hard hitting verses as well as his speeches at his live shows mean Tech is a force to be reckoned with as a live performer.
For those who aren’t familiar, here’s some background information about the artist. Felipe Andres Coronel was born in 1978 in a military hospital in Lima, Peru. His family relocated to Harlem, New York in 1980. The hostilities of Harlem led to Tech experiencing a troubled adolescence, frequently getting into fights and altercations but served later as an infinite source of inspiration in his music.
After high school, Tech enrolled in Pennsylvania State University but following some assault related charges he was incarcerated for a year which served as a time of reflection for the artist. During his time in jail, Felipe studied the works of Che Guevara and Malcolm X and honed his skills as a rapper. As a result, the themes of colonialism, institutionalised racism, classism and government control became running themes in his music. Following his release, he spent his time working hard on his music. He gained a reputation as a ferocious battler in the scene and sold his own music being dissatisfied with the underwhelming job opportunities that arose following his release from prison.
His songs have inspired many experiencing injustice across the world turning him into a respected figure in the mainstream as well as being somewhat of a cult figure. His music stands out for it’s impassioned political themes and a sound that is a furious rally against injustice and discrimination.
Tech stands out among his contemporaries as being an independent artist. His album Revolutionary Vol. 1 was released in 2001 without the help of a major label and funded by his winnings gained by battling. The album contains his iconic track Dance With The Devil. The track was ranked no. 10 on Complex’s list of 25 of the most violent rap songs of all the time. Lyrically the song details the dark world of gang initiation where the protagonist and his cohorts gang rape a woman and he discovers gazing into her beaten face it is his own mother. As you can imagine, the song has a notorious reputation leading people to continuously comment on social networking to this day asking, “is it true?”. Tech replies “it happens in every city across the world” and is his plea to young men warning of the destructive nature of a life of crime, a contrast to the glamorising of this lifestyle which is heard from many artists throughout the years for cred.
Tech released Revolutionary Vol. 2 in 2002 which contains the tracks and fan favourites Point of No Return and Peruvian Cocaine, tracks which were played to the Sugar Club in Dublin recently. His album The Third World was released in 2008 and another compilation album entitled The Martyr was released in 2011 through Viper Records to download for free. In his career Immortal Technique has collaborated with heavy weights such as Chuck D from Public Enemy, KRS-One, Mos Def and DJ Green Lantern. He appeared in Ice-T’s documentary The Art Of Rap in 2012. A documentary about Technique himself entitled The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique was released in 2011. Tech is also actively involved in philanthropy. From 2008, he has been partnered with non profit organisation Omeid. He has travelled to Kabul, Afghanistan where he has helped build an orphanage.
Immortal Technique’s sold out show in The Sugar Club was a truly a great event. Poison Pen warmed the crowd up playing mixes of A Tribe Called Quest, Dr. Dre and even Jump Around by House Of Pain. He was followed by a set by Viper Records artist Hasan Salaam who was extremely well received by the audience who were truly getting fired up by the time Constant Flow, a fellow Jersey City native took to the stage.
Without any pageantry or pyrotechnics, Technique nonchalantly took to the stage to the delight of the audience. What struck me immediately seeing this legend perform, was how connected his was with his audience. It was an occasion where he truly involved the people he played for, playfully bantering with drunk punters, shaking hand and even embracing myself and a girl who were standing to the side of the stage. Technique ripped through tracks from his accomplished back catalogue, performing tracks including Dance With The Devil, Peruvian Cocaine, The Point Of No Return and Obnoxious which were chanted in unison with the Dublin crowd and backed by his crew who in turn also made his performance electrifying. The atmosphere in the venue was peaceful and unified which helped the show become enjoyable. As you could imagine, I did hear the occasional idiotic heckler, one who was quickly silenced in a comical fashion by one of The Sugar Club staff who was embraced for his efforts. Overall, the show went ahead with no hiccups or any unnecessary hostility.
After completing his set, Technique informed the audience he “would not be running away” and there would be a meet-and-greet afterwards. Fans queued to meet Tech and his crew with little or no trouble and everyone got their moment the star. I myself, spoke to his support and Tech himself who gave me a signed copy of The Martyr. I also purchased a copy of Music Is My Weapon by Hasan Salaam. The Sugar Club show was an extremely pleasurable experience and I would recommend any Irish hip hop fan to check him out and catch him next time he hits our shores. For the past few years, Tech has been working on his upcoming release The Middle Passage which will be released off Viper Records.