Who’s Building The Best FDM Riddims Right Now
It’s been over a decade in the making, but Brooklyn’s homegrown style of dance music is beginning to make waves outside of battle circles. Called FDM (short for flex dance music), the sound is a critical component of the flex dance culture that it grew up alongside. While the dancers were refining their styles into a distinct set of movements, producers were doing the same, creating their own sound fashioned out of a wealth of dancehall riddims and sound effects that would provide the soundtrack for major dance competitions. I went deep into the scene over at Pitchfork, so please go read that when you have time. Meanwhile here’s a quick guide to the producers (many of whom are also dancers) responsible for making the sound what it is today. This weekend, Boiler Room will feature its first flex dancer and FDM producer—a sure sign that big tings ah gwan—although they’re keeping the details a secret for now. They’ve also got more plans in the works for FDM later this summer, so this is just a starting point. We figured this would be a good time to provide some basic info about the scene before everything starts to blow up. Audio & Info After The Jump…
HitMakerChinx is probably the most well known FDM producer out there right now. Currently on tour with Rihanna as a dancer, he’s helping expose FDM to the world. But he also plays a pivotal role in the world of flex tunes, introducing new means of production and raising the quality of sound.
Of all the currently active FDM producers, DJ Aaron is the one who’s been around the longest. The East New York resident comes from the “old school” that actually mixed together specific Jamaican riddims and sound effects to make early flex tunes. But these days the Mix King has been using original production on his releases as well. He’s also a successful dancer, frequently traveling to other countries with his fellow Next Level Squad dancers.
While Epic B has been surrounded by flex culture since he was a kid, his own entry into FDM was relatively recent. Perhaps that’s why he’s been taking the sound into the most diverse range yet. Although the Brownsville native posts most of his flex tunes on his Immortal Instruments page, that alias also refers to when him and Uninamise team up together. He raps and shoots videos too, and does both pretty well at that.
One of the more recent producers in the FDM game is Brooklyn’s Uninamise. Although he’s also relatively new to the thing, his penchant for collaboration and high quality standards have made him one of the scene’s most important figures. Before he started making flex tunes, he was already producing fire electronic music and rap beats. He also started the FDM supergroup Wolves, which includes himself, Epic, DJ Blue, Mvstermind, and Klasick—all of whom are covered below.
Some producers are mad good but choose to focus more on dancing. Among these is Main Eventt’s Doc, who’s nice in a circle but also wikkid with the FDM riddims. He can play the piano and has a level of music theory understanding, which gives him something of an advantage.
One of the older heads who’s still active is DJ Blue of Funeral Squad. He comes from the earlier mixing-style era of flex beat making. But he’s been picking up newer methods of production by working with Uninamise and Mvstermind, so his sound is evolving into the new era of FDM.
It was just a matter of time until Flex culture made it to New Jersey, which already had its own sturdy Jersey club dancing scene. Battlefest even keeps sessions out there now, and a lot of dancers across the Hudson River are picking up flex moves, so it’s only natural that producers are catching the bug as well. Newark’s Mvstermind started out making Jersey club, but caught the FDM bug and has been dedicated to it since.
The newest producer to enter the scene is Virginia-based Klasick. He was put on by Uninamise, who spent a little time down there in the home of Teddy Riley and The Clip.
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