Producers/DJs/dancers Hitmakerchinx and DJ Aaron are two of the most prominent figures in flexing, an offshoot of dancehall & reggae dance styles that evolved in the Caribbean neighbourhoods of Brooklyn. At CTM they will perform with two of the scene’s standout dancers, Shellz and OG hob dot.
The tradition of flexing alternates elastic contortions and ballet-like fluidity with disjointed, “broken” movements and facial animations. It began after dancehall legend and innovator Bruk Up relocated to Brooklyn from Kingston in 1995. The music to accompany it, originally known as “flex tunes”, has also grown into a genre of its own with club-ready beats and obscure samples – now known as FDM. It isn’t uncommon for artists in the world of FDM to be both dancers and producers – in the words of Hitmakerchinx, “you can’t learn this style unless your life is embedded in it.”
Brooklyn-based DJ Aaron aka "The Mix King" has been active on the FDM scene for 14 years. He danced on Madonna’s Workshop tour, in Skrillex’s “Red Lips” video, and has been featured in commercials for McDonalds, H&M Balmain, Diesel, and more. His guerilla dance troupe, The Next Level Squad, are known for impromptu, gas-mask-clad performances in crowded NYC trains and subway stations. 26-year-old Hitmakerchinx is from Brooklyn but based in LA. One of the brightest stars in the flexing scene, he danced on Rihanna’s Anti World Tour (2016-2017) and counts label/collective Fade to Mind among his fans. His new EP, Sound of 7ife, was released this past July. For him, dancing and producing are a means of channelling turmoil: "I'm not about to make anything that's soft. I need music that's going to say what I feel instead of me ripping somebody's head off”.