Ear to the Street: Immortal Technique

By Justus

What's going down, Phire city?

All I gotta say is Immortal Technique!

I went out to the show that was supposed to be at the Brickhouse but was moved to Martini Ranch in Scottsdale. An underground, revolutionary hip-hop show in Old Town? Wow!

The homie Skunk One from the SOL Camp opened the night in great form. In my opinion, Skunk is the dopest Spanish-speaking rapper in Arizona. He can spit English and Spanish with ill flows and dope lyrical content. His stage show is dope and he is full of energy.

Next came Mr. Revolution himself, Grime (got revolution in my eyes). This dude may put on the best local stage show. He gives hundreds of CDs away at every show and whips the crowd into a frenzy without fail.

Grime's got a new single called “Guns” that is intelligent gangster at its finest. His show is flawless. I have never seen him make a mistake. With DJ Konradio by his side, a great performance is to be expected.

Next came Diabolic, Immortal Technique's hype man and opener. This white boy can spit his ass off. But he was merely warming up the stage for Technique.

“Technique! Technique! Technique!” the crowd chanted for this all-star to get on stage.

He's only about 5'7” on a good day, but Technique's demeanor is that of a giant. He carried himself with respect worthy of an artist with a message. He opened his set with an explosion of an intro and then performed for over an hour. The whole time, a audience comprising mostly white folks hung on his every word and reacted to every one of his commands like a game of hip-hop Simon Says.

Towards the end of his set, Technique paused to take a moment out and speak about a subject rarely touched by MCs: women and how powerful their pride is. The fact that one out of every three women is a rape victim but never talk about it is a sign of strength, Technique said. It shows they have more pride than men. It was an electric moment where Technique let the men in the audience know what he feels is a real man.

It was most definitely a dope moment because it stepped away from the normal “Bush knocked down the Towers” rhetoric we're so used to hearing MCs spit out between tracks.

Back in music mode, Chino XL himself flew out from LA to make a guest appearance during Technique's set. It was a surprise to everyone. Chino is a hip-hop legend and one of the most lyrical MCs to ever come out of the West Coast. He ripped his verse with a ninja's delivery. It was a highlight of the night.

Shout outs go to Grime for being the only person who actually promoted this event. It could have been a sold out show at a 500 person venue, but the promoters who put the show on just didn't step up to the plate.

Until next time, keep those ears open and your wings spread as wide as they can get.

Justus is a Phoenix-based rapper and founder of Cut Throat Logic Records. He moved here in 1993 and considers the Valley his home. “My kids were born here and I'll be buried here,” he said. At age 10, Justus performed a DC Talk song during a talent show at a church camp and knew that music was his calling. He wrote raps for 10 years and “pretty much sucked” until a dear friend taught him to refine his rhythm and rhyme. When he's not hitting the stage or marketing a new act for Cut Throat Logic, he's writing new songs, but if you ask him, he'll say “I just run the label.”

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Jonathan McNamara

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