As a teenager, Felipe Andres Coronel developed an interest in Hip-Hop music and political activism that he later turned into a music career. Coronel is known these days as Immortal Technique. The Hip-Hop recording artist and political activist sat down with EXTRA to before he performed at the Metro.
Extra: How did you get involved in taking such a political stance?
Immortal Technique: The music I make is political. I am aware of what I do. Songs that entertain people take on political principles if you make a statement whether you know it or not.
What are your thoughts on being a Latino in hip-hop?
I may be Latino but I never ashamed my African ancestry that comes from my mother’s side which is rare because most of the time people don’t want to talk about that. Latino people themselves are a combination of European, African, and definitely a lot of indigenous people. I can’t call myself a Latino with acknowledging these things. Being Latino just means you speak a Latin-base language.
What were your influences when you started to rap?
My rappers growing up were KRS-ONE, Rakim, Kool G. Rap. I also looked at Muhammad Ali…how he spoke with a mic [and the] presence that Martin Luther King and Ali had; the ability to captivate the audience and force them to acknowledge whether they liked it or not, this is the truth. I’m not going to tell you what to believe but I want you to understand what that is. You’re welcome to make your own decision because every man has to make their own path in life. You can’t claim ignorance. They told you what was going on.
Any thoughts on performing in Chicago, the hometown of President Barack Obama?
I’ve given the president criticism [and] rightly so. I think that it is detrimental to the Black and Latino communities to think that just because one of us or a person who resembles us in a position of power. First of all, it’s not the first time a black man has ever been the head of an empire. It’s the last that we’ve seen people use an individual in our community to tell us what sounds good but isn’t good for the community. I never speak of him in anger or a disrespectful tone I understand what exactly what he is better than the people who put him there. I understand what he does. He’s the console of the American empire.
What is your take on the immigration policies enforced in the United States?
I always hear about what the “illegal immigrants” owe America. I never hear about what America owes them. I never hear about hundreds of years of practical serfdom. I think what message we send is a dual one. What we need to do is come to a land, kill a few people hold the land and in a few years tell the people you’re illegal and we’re legal. If you want to talk about who’s a real “anchor baby” that would be those people who came to the continent uninvited with no papers and started running s—t.
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