“Battling is like a skill builder because it shapes your personality as an artist,” DDm said. “It’s almost like the prerequisite of getting into the rap game.”
Over the years DDm has practiced and perfected his craft into one that is unique, offering a wide range of variety and raw passion. He developed the name DDm or Dappa Dan Midas because of his dapper appearance and drive to succeed.
DDm currently resides in the Arthaus in the Gwynns Falls area of Baltimore. The Arthaus houses a group of visual and lyrical artists that have come together and are working toward achievement in their respective fields of interest. This multimedia sanctuary also houses DMVjams.com, a forerunner in digital media that promotes area talent.
Many supporters describe DDm’s music as fun, colorful, and textured with a vintage feel that ensures it is timeless and classic.
“I want people to think when they hear my songs, but I don’t want them to feel like they’re sitting in a classroom,” he said. “I think the best learning is from living. I want people to live my music.”
His influences range from Biggie Smalls to Pink Floyd, and Earth Wind and Fire to Freddy Mercury, though his principal influence is Kimberley “Lil Kim” Jones for her originality and presence as an artist. DDm also derives inspiration on music and fashion from the traditions and regional artistic differences of Baltimore’s art district, New York City, Great Britain, Africa, and Japan. With an expanded palate for music and fashion, DDm brings range and a distinctive perception of variant cultures to everything he produces.
As DDm continues to emerge as an artist in Baltimore, being the first openly gay rapper has presented its own challenges. Although DDm has gained recognition and support from local media with his current single, “Legendary,” he finds it hard to receive support from his heterosexual male counterparts.
“I get support from the female artists in Baltimore, but the guys won’t come to a DDm show or work with me at all,” he said.
DDm believes it will be challenging to make people understand that his sexual orientation in not a crutch and his music can stand side-by-side with the best. As he gains momentum, he is anticipating the backlash and criticism from the black church and others from the African-American community.
“There is no other option for me, I have to succeed. I know that I can’t be weak or slack off,” said DDm.
Despite the challenges, DDm also sees being a member of the LGBTQ community as a positive because “we are some of the most creative and inspiring people on earth.” He believes that the edict and terminology of the community will always be present in his music.
As reports of bullying and subsequent suicides—along with health disparities—rise among LGBTQ youth, DDm hopes to increase awareness in Baltimore and let youth know that “you come from a lineage of people that have always survived and always made a way, you are not the only person that’s going through that…and ultimately you have to get a little bit tougher and go where the love is.” He puts emphasis on finding your own outlet and persevering though the struggle because eventually “it gets better.”
Knowing how hard it is to “come out” of the closet as a gay black man, DDm gave recognition to the current social media campaign in Baltimore, “HIV Stops With Me,” for the bravery of their spokes models to proudly show their faces and stand up for this cause. He said, “If you had asked me two years ago, if I’d be out rapping, I would have said no...So the fact that these kids are showing their faces and saying ‘Look at me, I’m gay, and I have HIV’ says a lot.”
Similar to another inspiration, Elton John, DDm hopes to continue writing in a way that captures feeling and emotion. He hopes that his music eventually takes him overseas. In the meantime, fans can see him perform for free at Moby’s in Fells Point or find him on social media by searching GoDDm.
DETAILS: DDm at Moby’s. Wednesday, July 27, 11pm. 721 S. Broadway. FREE. 410.732.7940.