87, aka Raw Knowledge, is a writer and spoken-word performer working on a CD called Dead Money. MC Drowning Dog, who is preparing her debut CD, Last Gasp, produced the 2002 Bread and Roses compilation. UK native Malatesta, aka DJ Slo-Mo, specializes in “political electronic music that fuses low- and highbrow culture,” such as hip-hop with samples of Noam Chomsky speeches. Together they’re known as Entartete Kunst, an ironic (or is it?) reference to Nazi Germany’s official demonization of “decadent” modern art as a cultural springboard for the “social ills” Hitler feared most: Jewish influence, Bolshevism, godlessness, primitivism, “insane” surreal and antirealistic points of view, etc.
Some people still have trouble with modern art, of course, and hip-hop culture is viewed with alarm in certain quarters, but the trio of artists from San Francisco’s worker-owned Entartete Kunst label is unlikely to be assaulted by Brown Shirts — or even investigated by the FBI — when they appear Friday for an event called What Kind of State Are You Livin’ In? The “Night of Anarchist Hip-Hop Propaganda” at Oakland’s AK Press Warehouse (674-A 23rd St., 510-208-1700, 7 p.m., free) doubles as a CD release party for EK’s new album, States of Abuse, as well as the East Bay premiere of Spreading Propaganda, a video documentary profile of the performers.
AK Press, now celebrating its fifteenth anniversary of radical publishing in the United States, has become one of the leading countercultural portals in the East Bay by sponsoring events like the EK bash. Josh Warren-White, marketing and publicity director for the collective, acknowledges that in 2005 in America, leftist hip-hop and anarchist lit probably aren’t seen by the power structure as the same kind of threat “degenerate art” was to the Nazis in the 1930s, but it isn’t for want of trying. “We see books and literature as a form of organizing, a means of forcing radical media into the book trade,” he says. “Actually, we’re trying to flood the market with as much subversive material as we can.” That includes EK’s music as well. “It all starts with ideas.” Visit AKPress.org or EntarteteKunst.info for more details.