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2011-10-11

Hip-Hop Artist Immortal Technique: No More Free Passes for Our Government

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Among the many artists supporting the Occupy Wall Street encampment is the hip-hop artist Immortal Technique. He shares his impressions of the protesters’ demands and performs his song "Toast to the Dead." "People say, 'You know what? I want concrete solutions. I want people held accountable for what they did wrong,'" Immortal Technique says. "'I want governments to realize that they're not just going to get a free pass for their horrific record of human rights, even if you’re supported by America, because we have deals to exploit your natural resources.’ I think that that’s what people are genuinely concerned with here." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, as we turn right now, Immortal Technique, here on Wall Street, Occupy Wall Street.

IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE: People want to talk about where it started. I want to talk about where it’s spreading. I want to talk about where it’s going.

AMY GOODMAN: Where is it going?

IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE: I think it’s not going anywhere. I think it’s going to continue, because that’s what people want. They want it to go away. They want it to be pacified. They want it to be co-opted, you know? Believe me, there are forces on either side that would love to do so, because when they look at the people, they think anger, voting bloc, consumer base—how can we galvanize these people to push them in our direction or not?

And I think what you see here is a genuine amount of cynicism, but not too much, people that say, "You know what? I want concrete solutions. I want people held accountable for what they did wrong. I want governments to realize that they’re not just going to get a free pass for their horrific record of human rights, even if you’re supported by America, because we have deals to exploit your natural resources." I think that that’s what people are genuinely concerned with here.

AMY GOODMAN: So, does this inspire any song, any rap?

IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE: Alright, I did a rap here before from a song called "A Toast to the Dead." Right? And here it goes.

[rapping] Here’s a toast to the dead
If you don’t drink,
Smoke to the head
For the freedom fighters killed by the feds
For those who died hard in the streets
Soaking in red
And died slow asleep in a dream
Choking in bed

Here’s a toast to the dead
For my enemies that are gone
I’m not a coward
So celebrating that would be wrong
I pray to God that your soul will come back again
So I can see you in the next life and finish it then

A toast to the dead
For criminals burning in Hell
I wonder how many presidents
Are burning, as well
Emperors, popes, senators, generals
Amputees feeling lucky
Until they see they’re vegetables

A toast to the dead
For those who are forgotten
Written out of the history
By the corrupted and rotten
Black saints whitewashed during La Reconquista
Thousands of Indios Spaniards used to conquer the Incas

[bleep] a moment of silence!
I need a moment of violence!
Like the 19th century Caribbean islands
Long live those who came before
That paved the way for me
The warriors and scientists that came before slavery

And if that last lyric was predictable
Take that clairvoyance
And apply it to life in the physical
Presumptuous, halfhearted homunculus
Self-destruction is the power
Without knowing what the function is

AMY GOODMAN: Immortal Technique, thanks so much.

IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE: Thank you very much, Amy.

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