I’m pretty sure Afrika Bambaataa, KRS-One and Chuck D are smiling over their sons of the new school: Immortal Technique, Bambu and Odessa Kane. Together, these three MCs from three different cities united for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda at WorldBeat Center on Sunday.
The concert was a grassroots relief effort, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the survivors of the super-typhoon that hit the Philippines last November, killing thousands.
Bambu, a Filipino-American rapper, father and activist who was raised in Watts, Calif., knows the importance of transparency.
“During my set, I made sure to reiterate to the audience that the money they had contributed went directly to the people devoid of any ‘middle men’ skimming off the top,” Bambu said.
In the spirit of KRS-One concerts, where teaching occurs via call-and-response between MCs and the audience, the three rappers on Sunday offered lessons on Typhoon Yolanda — including the effects of manmade global warming, governmental corruption, the exploitation of women, and poverty — using screen-projected images of the devastation of the Philippines.
“Question everything — even question me –do your research,” Immortal Technique schooled his audience.
Each MC has survived the trappings of ‘hood life and unintentionally become a member of the trinity of raptivism for the new millennium, hiphoppas.
Immortal Technique’s incarceration sparked his enlightenment and is akin to a one-man version of Public Enemy (sans Flava Flav); Bambu uses his turbulent L.A. experience as a Filipino-American, flipping tongues from Tagalog to English with storytelling ease; and Odessa Kane, the Tijuana-born San Diegan, who was raised by a Filipino dad and Mexican mom, is the lyrically sharp conscious MC who sews together the parallels of gangsters and the working-class similarly to the Queens rapper Nas. The common thread the three share is that they are all active members in grassroots human-rights organizations. Together they are the quintessential diplomats of the so-called “minorities” in the U.S.
“I felt that the lineup was full of impact and appropriate,” Odessa Kane said. “I feel we all are carrying on the tradition of those before us, like Public Enemy, who feel the need to use hip-hop music to create positive change for those in need. From myself to Bambu to Visionaries to Rebel Arms [both of whom also performed on Sunday], it was the perfect buildup for Immortal Technique to bring the message home for all of us.”
A benefit concert with the trinity in the lineup is like finding hip-hop’s true essence in the Bermuda Triangle, with Odessa Kane, Bambu and Immortal Technique as three distinct points. What many don’t know is that knowledge is the lost fifth element in hip-hop, aside the four core elements of DJing, B-Boying, MCing and graffiti — “dropping knowledge” is what the three raptivists did.
“I think Technique does a great job of connecting issues transnationally– he’s a very well-read brother,” Bambu said. “Odessa is an amazing MC and our organization, Kabataang maka-Bayan Pro-People Youth, is very fortunate to have him.”
DMC champion DJ Kuttin Kandi, one of the hosts and organizers of the concert, is definitely to thank for a massive amount of organizing despite her well-known heart condition.
“Doctors don’t even want me near the speakers because of all the bass, but I gotta do it,” she joked at the benefit.
Relief, Rebuild & Remember: A Fundraiser Event for Typhoon Haiyan Survivors in the Philippines brought together educators, students, hiphoppas, families and even first-time rap concertgoers under one roof.
Dita Quinones’ exclusive interview with Immortal Technique will air on an upcoming episode of SoundDiego on NBC 7 after Saturday Night Live.
Dita Quiñones is a multimedia journalist born in Tijuana with a passion for Latin alternative and hip-hop music news. Her main goal is to uplift and inform so that the Latino and Hip-Hop community get knitted into the fabric of American history. In addition to SoundDiego, she contributes to Latina, FOX News Latino, Poder, VidaVibrante, and HipHopDx. She is also the founder of the infamous music and politrix blog GN$F! Follow Dita on Twitter or on Facebook.