R. Flex’s vocal performances are deftly evocative. At the turn of a phrase, they flit from soft and understanding to tragic and downtrodden. The result is their most vulnerable, paranoid, and honest work to date. Their ability to navigate 80’s R&B while traversing topics like sex with downlow men & public breakdowns, makes for a cotemporal record that reveals queer emotions, experiences, and events that were always bubbling under the surface of 80’s R&B.
Taking influence from the likes of Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, & Luther Vandross, «Once Upon A Flex» comes to life. «The Fog» unravels with cinematic soundscapes that captivate eerie tones and unparalleled ambiguity. R. Flex shares, «I ended up turning that feeling of moral ambiguity into sexual ambiguity. I, in turn, made a song about my experiences having sex with men on the downlow. Meaning, I made a song about men who have sex with men, but don’t identify as gay to avoid coming out». Blended with a reverberating rhythm and soaring vocal energy, they continue, «I think for a song that pulls from quiet storm, which is already known for expanding masculinity to embrace domestic sensuality, this song pushes beyond heteronormative expectations». Leaning into a realm of quiet storm, pop and trap, «The Fog» comes to life.
«Hounds of Hell» is the second offering from the EP. Pinning down discourses into self-abandonment across both tracks, it’s R. Flex’s hope that the EP inspires listeners to feel. They confide, «I expose the paradox of centring oneself in the midst of a social ill while dissociating at the same time. There’s no centre; just an endless cycle of self-abandonment that brings the EP together». Inspired by a line in Sky Ferreira’s «I Blame Myself», «Hounds of Hell» serves something maniacal and yet vulnerable. Much like «The Fog», there’s a tension, but the beat feels lucid, pairing sublimely with R. Flex’s euphoric vocals.
Garnering humbling praise from the likes of Exclaim Magazine, Bandcamp, and The Star, R. Flex’s repertoire to date has been discovered globally, landing on queer playlists in Amsterdam, Toronto, and New York. Simply put, R. Flex is an underground star in the making. Supporting the likes of Haiku Hands and Khalifa, they also performed alongside BLCK*SYNC at the 2nd anniversary of Club Quarantine (one of the world’s biggest online dance parties).