If you are interested in smashing imperialism, then allow the lyrics of Immortal Technique to be your guide. While commercial rappers continue to dominate the airwaves with their patty-cake rhymes, Immortal Technique has been wielding his verbal machete to cut a path through the dense corporate forest. But cutting down corporate domination is only part of his story, as this Peruvian born rapper also walks the walk.  Recently he went to Afghanistan to help open an orphanage, he supports revolutionary struggles throughout the world,and he has stayed true to his independent roots.

One of his best tracks is the 2003 concept piece “Peruvian Coke,” in which he turns his focus to the U.S. government’s war on drugs. On the track, Immortal and his comrades take listeners on a journey from the jungles of Peru to the U.S. prison system. Immortal may be an ex-con who has yet to graduate from college, but “Peruvian Coke” shows that you don’t need a degree to understand how the drug game is really played.

The jam opens with a sample from the movie Scarface which features a conversation between a drug lord and an interviewer. The drug lord alludes to the U.S. government’s culpability in the drug trade, then the flute punctuated beat drops and the journey begins.

Technique introduces himself as a worker in the coca fields. His razor sharp lyrics show how the poor working conditions and workload of cocoa workers prevents them from joining the revolution.

After Immortal’s verse, next is Pumpkinhead, rapping as a cocaine field boss who uses violence to keep his workers in check. “OK, listen Juan Valdez, just give me my product, Before we chop off ya hands for worker’s misconduct, I got the power to shoot a copper, and not get charged,” Pumpkinhead threatens. “And it would be sad to see your family in front of a firing squad”

Then Diabolic steps to the mic and the perspective swings to the fascist Peruvian leader. Diabolic raps about his connections to the CIA and brags about how he supplies the agency with, “The finest type of China white and cocaine you’ll see.”

Next up is Tondeff, who serves as a wealthy American drug distributor in the United States that — in order to keep his kids in private school and wife happy — got blood on his hands by helping to overthrow two governments.

The next verses — Poison Pen as a drug dealer, Loucipher as an undercover police officer, and C-Rayz Walz as a prison inmate — show how the drug game is played on the streets.

After the story concludes, Immortal retakes the mic to bring it all together through spoken word. He makes it known that the war on drugs is bigger than what we see on the streets.

Instead of using his own words to close the track, Immortal ends with a clip of Wesley Snipes from the film New Jack city.

“I’m not guilty. YOU’RE the one that’s guilty. The lawmakers, the politicians, the Colombian drug lords, all you who lobby against making drugs legal…I mean, c’mon, let’s kick the ballistics here: Ain’t no Uzi’s made in Harlem. Not one of us in here owns a poppy field. This thing is bigger than (Immortal Technique). This is big business. This is the American way.”


About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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