Immortal Technique

Five long years have passed since Immortal Technique, a Harlemite Afro-Peruvian hip-hopper, released an album. His diehard fans have been waiting, and unfortunately, The 3rd World might not live up to the earth-shattering veracity of its predecessor, Revolutionary Vol. 2. But rest assured, Tech's gritty lyrics and in-your-face delivery remain provocative and thought-inducing throughout the album. If anything, his venom this time around is more concisely directed. On the DJ Green Lantern-produced title track, he grabs listeners with the killer bars "I'm from where the gold and diamonds are ripped from the earth/right next to the slave castles where the water is cursed/from where police brutality's not half as nice/and makes the hood in America look like paradise." On "Death March," Tech spits about the mass inflation that drove Latin American immigrants to the United States, and on "Harlem Renaissance," he puts the ongoing Harlem gentrification into broader context. Tech raps en español on "Golpe de Estado (Coup d'Etat)," which stands among the album's best, along with the hidden track "Apocalypse Remix," featuring Akir and Pharaohe Monch. Fewer guest spots would have been nice, although "Crimes of the Heart" featuring the alluring singing of Maya Azucena is worthwhile. Listeners might not always agree with Immortal Technique's message or his leftist politics, but he boldly confronts issues that most artists ignore — post-colonial realities and issues of class and race. What's most impressive is the way his global street wit can often shock you and entice you within the very same stanzas.

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