Q&A with Immortal Technique

What you classify your music as Latin hip-hop? Do you identify with that movement?

I think when we talk about Latino rap and reggeaton, people are always saying "it's the new movement." But if esto es el movimiento, then we should be controlling it ourselves. If we don't control it, then how are we representing each other? How are we representing the people? How are we not becoming one-dimensional if we are only allowed to be shown in just one light? Hollywood would never dare show Jewish people or Italian people in one light. With us, we're always the drug dealers and our women are the whores. We have to showcase other aspects of our reality, not just the drug dealing.

Do you think it's up to independent artists like you to change that?

Rich white executives control everything. People say, "Oh, but there are black and Latino executives!" Yeah, but they take their orders from the man upstairs. You're a f*cking nobody. You're not in charge. It doesn't matter.

That's a very grim assessment of our future as a culture.

If we will allow our selves to be divided by people, we are going to lose a piece of who we are. Peruvians and Ecuadorians don't like each other, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans...and for what? We're the same.

What stereotypes within the Latin community bother you?

We still identify beauty with lighter skin. When I went to Peru, you look in the airport at the cosmetic ads all the women are lighter skinned Euro-looking, and if you look on the street at all the indigenous women are darker-skinned. I'm not down with that.