All words: Bri Younger // All photos: Jason Dixson
Dressed in all black with the exception of the white vintage spats adorning his boots, Emmanuel “DDm” Moss was, for the most part, inconspicuous in DC9 Thursday night. All of that changed when he took the stage, still in all black,but commanding the attention of all who were in attendance. The Baltimore native has received considerable recognition for being an openly gay rapper — the first in his hometown. But when he gets a mic in hand, he distinguishes himself as, not only loud and proud, but a performer to be taken seriously.
Sometimes moving in a Madonna-esque fashion, DDm performs in a sort of style that could often be characterized as vogue-rap. Though the he is, without a doubt, effeminate in his mannerisms, he is not overly flamboyant on his songs. His music pulls influence from the likes of Andre 3000 (“sometimes you just got to help a bitch” as he said), sometimes a little bit of Nicki Minaj and other times a different genre completely.
Songs like “Run” are fast paced, sometimes sounding like it was pulled from a video game bonus level. Then there are songs like “Killer Queen,” with its southern trap-infused beat and the Baltimore club-inspired “Fake Girls.” DDm offers an uncommon variety, daring to venture outside of any presupposed hip hop limits while still sticking to the script, incorporating stereotypical reps for the hood (“Westside is the best side”) and drug and money references.
DDm also brings something else besides being an openly gay rapper: he’s fun and unapologetic in a way that is genuine and rare in rap music as of late. Saying things like “I used to be fat and insecure…I’m still fat, but I’m not insecure” as he breaks into an actual vogue, he’s not afraid be open and make himself accessible to his audience. Throughout the show, DDm offered up comedic anecdotes about his life and rants about reality television and the Pope in a fashion that felt more like a stand-up show than a rap event. Still, such qualities are refreshing given how repetitive and cliché mainstream rap music can be.