DDM – Black Cat – Best You Can Get!

Anarchist hip-hop mixed with minimalist electronica

ddm black cat

Artist: DDM (Drowning Dog MC & Malatesta DJ)

Title: Black Cat – Best You Can Get!

Release: LP / Digital 

Year: 2014

Label: EK Records

Glasgow born and raised Malatesta DJ grew up in a working class family before moving to San Francisco in the USA, where he became involved in antiauthoritarian organizing and anarchist politics. Volunteering in the famous AK Press publishing for years he also became well-read on politics, radical history and liberation struggles. Being a passionate activist in the social movements and hanging out at AK Press and Bound Together Books brought him to many radical people but Malatesta (drawing his name from the prominent Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta) also had an interest in the both underground and mainstream music scenes.

Eventually, he bought a cheap DJ equipment to start recording and sampling his beats over speeches of Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, ex-Black Panthers, etc. until he met the fellow radical Drowning Dog MC with whom they shared a low rent building (The Complex) and started an anarchist electronica/hip-hop collective / record label called Entartete Kunst (aka EK Records). DDM (Drowning Dog & Malatesta) have been touring the States and Europe since 1999, making hip-hop and electronica a threat again. Playing at social centers and self-organized spaces around Europe was so inspiring for both artists that eventually they decided to settle in Milan, Italy, where Malatesta started his new project, the class conscious gig collective Rap Militante Internazionale.

The newest musical endeavor coming from the Milan based DDM collective is called “Black Cat – Best You Can Get”. We have 15 tracks of anarchist political rapping over beats ranging from minimalist electronica to more typical R&B and hip-hop samplings. The more electro oriented songs remind of the riot grrrl and queer musical scenes, although the lyrical content of DDM is based on classical anarchist and leftist themes such as precarity, power structures and class consciousness, squatting and housing issues, etc. This is an interesting and multifarious 100% DIY and underground project, and as you might expect from a hip-hop record, there are various guest appearances such as Italian antifascist MC Acero Moretti (on “Casa occupata”), Paris based hardcore rapper Première Ligne from the ultramilitant Skalpel/La-K Bine crew (on “What is normal?”) and the crazy beats and mixing (on “Greve Generale”) of the hip-hop genius Piloophaz from Saint-Étienne, France.

The record was recorded by DDM in Milan, mixed by Tristan Mazire in Paris, the underground hip-hop capital of Europe, and mastered in Oakland, CA. Check out Rap Militante Internazionale and The Future Is Still Unwritten tour for more radical hip-hop coming from the growing network of antiauthoritarian hip-hop crews and collectives around Europe and the World.

By anarchist spirit I mean that deeply human sentiment, which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people; which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind…

—Errico Malatesta for the Italian anarchist newspaper Umanita Nova (April, 1922)

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