XXL Interviews Immortal Technique
XXL hooks us up with an interesting interview. Part One, Part Two

Is signing with a major label something you’ve considered?
They keep trying to sign me as an artist and throw money at me without realizing that this isn’t about just paper for me. It’s about principle and about my success rate as the president of my own label….I don’t need to pretend to be paid for anyone. Even though I’m from Harlem, I’m not really flashy. I got a Third World country work ethic, like the Haitians, Jamaicans, Cubans, Colombians. I’m mostly Peruvian, so I put my money into investments. I own three apartments and a house I bought for my grandmother in South America. I own over 50 acres of farmland in Peru. I’m putting my sister through school and now medical school…I’m not starving and broke and willing to sell my soul to them along with the rights to my masters and publishing.

Why does New York have that standard?
Being an average or above average lyricist in New York? That’s just disrespectful to the very culture of hip-hop. Maybe there’s another factor too, though. The audience in hip-hop has another generation gap. There are kids out there who see Biggie and Tupac as old school. People who were five or six years old when they died. If you make things more simplistic with lyrics, then it will appeal to a younger audience. Not to disrespect the intelligence of the youth at all—I know lots of smart teenagers—that’s just truth. But the realest thing I’m gonna tell you about hip-hop’s Southern power surge: niggas ain’t making money like that. I don’t care what you wore in your video, what you showed up to the Howard homecoming in, what you floss in the streets, or how many independent units niggas sold out they trunk in Alabama or Atlanta. Let’s not sit here and pretend that the big companies aren’t the ones making all the real money. The Southern push doesn’t reflect the growing living standard of Southern people as much as it represents a desperate effort from record labels to salvage their sales, which are in the toilet. They found a loyal market and they will now exploit it to the fullest. Your imprint means nothing, nigga. You own no masters, you split publishing. The dollar amount that the majors get from the distributor is the bottom line. You don’t even see that as an artist. We’re all still slaves, we’re just on different boats.