Inspiration comes from, literally, everywhere. For some, it’s a passionate take of what reality gives them. For others, it’s the disconnection with relationships over time. And for some others, it may seem like something a little less serious.
For CX KiDTRONiK, the story goes that he spotted the ass-crack of singer Jody Watley in the mid-2000s during a New York show after dropping something. That’s literally it. And if it seems to be difficult to believe, simply point to his 2006 solo LP Krak Attack, and his upcoming follow-up Krak Attack 2: Ballad Of Eli Skiff. It’s such an inspiration that he made a sequel about it.
Naturally, the trepidation of such an odd-ball stance usually entails some less-than-stellar results. The idea tends itself to gimmick rap embolden of the legend of 2 Live Crew, which has been more preserved in the memories of the masses as the rap crew who worshiped at the church of the female exterior. But for the Brooklyn-via-Detroit artist, it’s not his consummate image.
That drawn line is made definitely clear once the first static thump of “Locked In” ticks off. The joke is over, fast, as KiDTRONiK hurls his emphatic firm-fist verses, making him seem like the most serious presence in the New York scene. The cut-throat style has likened him before to fellow New York avant-garde rapper Saul Williams, whom KiDTRONiK worked with previously on the 2007 album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust. Both exhibit innate abilities to speak a volume beyond themselves, gracing forceful poetry through rough and rigid electronic movements. But what Williams does with his gnarling verses, KiDTRONiK does as a producer.
A former New York club DJ, KiDTRONiK’s notable sounds come from his customized drum machines and synths, which make the rampant claustrophobic beats responsible for “Locked In.” It swills in on the other Krack Attack 2 cuts as well, where he takes a lengthy backseat to let his guests fill in the blanks. One of which, from digital hardcore Berlin band Atari Teenage Riot, seems less curious once you remember that KiDTRONiK actually surmised the frontman role after the band returned in 2010.
Somewhat auspiciously, the track featuring Atari Teenage Riot, “Let’s Go Krazy,” comes off rougher and more chaotic than a band notorious for creating provocative and anarchist-intensified hardcore. But for KiDTRONiK, who’s previously been affiliated with The Nation of Islam, and former rebellious rap outfits Anti-Pop Consortium and Airborn Audio, it seems downright logical. Whether he covers his album labels with low-hanging jeans or showers beer on his fans at shows, it doesn’t take long to figure out the furious nature on display.
There’s a dissonance that can be heavy drawback for many who can’t buy in to the all-too-serious image in which some artists cloak themselves. For some, the message is too loud, too negating, reverting an artist’s character to that of a one-note caricature. While the liner notes of KiDTRONiK tell one story, his image and stage-persona play another. His deft seriousness in his verses and production may be the bigger story, but the subtle funny plays, like the Krak Attack 2 album cover and ongoing butt obsession, make it seem a bit more likable.