CX KiDTRONiK is addicted to crack. Female butt crack. The DJ/producer/vocalist makes explosively-danceable throwback hip hop, meshed with electro, metal and other genres. A member of the recently re-formed Atari Teenage Riot, he also counts Kanye West, Girl Talk and Saul Williams among his biggest fans. “He is a character,” says former tour mate Trent Reznor. “He’s also one of those guys, when he’s around, things start to happen.”
But back to the crack. The Crown Heights, Brooklyn-based artist CX once saw Jody Watley squat for a split second to pick up a tambourine at a Central Park performance – at the height of the low-rise jeans era – and it was all over. His 2006 party-starting debut Krak Attack (Sound-Ink) pledged allegiance to the sag, while his Stones Throw work Krak Attack 2: Ballad Of Elli Skiff takes a more political angle. The title references a low-slung-pants-wearing Portsmouth, New Hampshire woman, who was arrested for refusing to leave a mall.
It may come as a surprise that the Detroit born CX – with his crooked mohawk, flashing sunglasses, adopted the name Christopher X – or, “CX” – after reading the works of Public Enemy, and Elijah Muhammad. “KiDTRONiK” comes from ‘80s NYC electro rap group Mantronix and its producer Kurtis Mantronik, who have heavily influenced his style.
By the time he’d arrived in Atlanta in 1990 he was an official, bow-tie clad member of Louis Farrakhan's Nation Of Islam. There, he met slam poet Saul Williams, who became hype man and dancer for CX’s industrial hardcore-rap group, K.I.N. Featuring 3 small trampolines, and a white guy who slapped CX with a whip, the act performed at the onset of the Dirty South era, being the first rap group in the area to have a staple mosh pit, and impressed soon-to-be-famous locals like Lil Jon and Andre 3000.
A one-time member of Anti-Pop Consortium and Airborn Audio, he worked for years as a New York city club DJ, and has toured the planet honing his production style, playing custom-built synths, and drum machines with names like the “CX Betacrack Box” and “The Catonator,” specializing in live kicks and snares, rather than loops. He has dazzled audiences around the world with his technically-proficient, yet completely-chaotic performances, full of gyrating women, flashing lights, lazers, sweat and beer. He reunited with Williams and contributed beats and vocals to his 2007 album which was produced by Trent Reznor. In recent years CX has toured with Reznor, Williams, Girl Talk, and in 2009 Kanye West flew him out to his Hawaii recording studio to co-produce a single called “Whatever U Want,” from West’s artist Consequence. What’s more, in 2010 CX became a member of German digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot, filling in for the late Carl Crack. (The KraK/Crack connection is purely coincidental.)
-- By Ben Westhoff
Krak Attack Merch
CX Kidtronik on Vimeo
CX Kidtronik on Youtube