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Los Angeles was flexin' real hard at the first ever FlexUp LA show at Los Globos in Echo Park. Walshy Fire (Black Chiney/Major Lazer), Kalibandulu (Italy), Yungg Trip (Seattle), Silva (New Orleans), Crvstmen (Boston), and Two Seven Clash (Los Angeles) set the place a blaze with their electro EDM and original dancehall mixes.
Jovi Rockwell performed alongside Kalibandulu for an enchanting set, that left anyone wondering who she was, Googling who she was. Jovi has become one of the most eclectic dancehall-reggae singers of our time, and she blessed the night with her single "Too Original." The song aptly describes Jovi's alter ego, La Ganja Bonita.
LA's dancehall - reggae fans and industry players turned out in force to revel in the vibes. The crowd was a testament to the ever growing dance music scene, with Walshy Fire referring to all revelers as originators of the movement: "You guys are coming out tonight and you're the original people of something that is going to be huge soon," said Walshy. Indeed the love for dancehall and reggae has become more apparent in the City of Angels, and forward-thinking events such as FlexUp have a strong feel for the rising movement.
Alex Breitman, of Two Seven Clash, was also one of the main organizers of the event. "It was a special experience," Breitman said. Without giving too much away, FlexUp has hinted at even more collaboration on #FutureDancehall events in Los Angeles.
We also caught up with Kalibandulu to get their take on dancehall's steady growth within the past two years. Hailing from Italy, the group has seen where dancehall culture has always been an underground genre restricted to hardcore fans of the genre. "In the past two years much of it has changed, much more dancehall songs are heard on radio and television than in the past, this is a small achievement for all the work done in 17 years of Kalibandulu," says Kalibandulu.
Speaking on how the music has impacted their lives Kalibandulu says, "This music is having so much success because it is the basis of many other musical genres, hip hop, dub, drum'n'bass and Jungle, to name a few. It is a genre that is well suited for contamination and new influences, that's why we can appeal to a wide range of different audiences. If we talk about dancehall as a cultural movement, what we like is that you can find everything inside, social and religious themes but also the exact opposite as rudeness and futility, all this makes it a complete movement."
As Kalibandulu puts it, crews such as FlexUp that work on dancehall music from around the world have become ambassadors for taking things to the next level.
Taking it back to the local scene in LA, some never expected it to get so big. Yet, now it is a movement on the verge of peaking, as more and more islanders begin to call the City of Angels home. The FlexUp crew's inaugural event was a reflection of that growth.
See the vibes in full effect for yourself, in our slideshow below.