Afro-Peruvian rapper and producer Immortal Technique moved from Peru to New York to escape civil war in the 1980s. The C.I.A. sponsored suppression of the liberation struggle in his homeland, together with his experience of growing up on the mean streets of Harlem, politicised him and made him aware of his African heritage and of the wider revolutionary solidarity between the oppressed peoples of the world.
Enamoured with hip hop and graffiti culture, the aspiring young emcee was dragged down into an aggressive spiral of violence, ending up in jail on assault charges. Incarcerated, he studied, worked out, and wrote down his brutally disrespectful and realist lyrics, until in 1999 he emerged on parole and into the ciphers and battles that would lead him to his current status as an international hip hop icon.
A moving journey in itself, this transformation is all the more impressive as it has resulted not in commercialised, consumerist pop, but in a hardcore brand of street politics, transmitted through his own independent label, that continues to find common cause with and inspire revolutionary movements all over the world.