The DJ/producer/vocalist CX KIDTRONIK makes explosively danceable throwback hip-hop, meshed with electro and metal. He counts Kanye West, Saul Williams and Trent Reznor among his fans, and has worked with each. “He is a character,” says Reznor. “He’s also one of those guys, when he’s around, things start to happen.”
First, about the “krak.” 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 from there. The newfound obsession with accidental crack was put to music in his 2006 debut album Krak Attack, a pledged allegiance to the sag. His Stones Throw release Krak Attack 2: Ballad Of Elli Skiff takes a more conceptual angle – the title and album artwork references a low-slung-pants-wearing New Hampshire woman, who was arrested for refusing to leave a mall.
CX – “Christopher X” – is based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and comes from Detroit, with detours through Atlanta and Madison WI, where he was an official, bow-tie clad member of Louis Farrakhan's Nation Of Islam. But “KiDTRONiK” – the name – is pure NYC, a reference to ‘80s electro rap group Mantronix, who has heavily influenced his style.
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. In recent years CX has toured with Reznor, Saul Williams, and produced for Kanye 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