Jimothy’s Flex Looks a Little Different

NYT Music

Jimothy has come to embrace being unconventional. He grew up in public housing in the affluent London area of Primrose Hill, not far from Camden Market, and was raised by his Spanish mother, whom he still lives with. His father, who is of Caribbean heritage but was born in Britain, was not around much.

Street-savvy and smart, Jimothy enjoyed unusual freedom as a child. “When I was 12,” he said, “I felt like a big man.” He would explore London on foot, walking to other boroughs up to four miles away. He would also meet and befriend older children online. “I’d message them on Facebook and say, ‘Yo, I like what you do, let’s chill,’” he said.

This precociousness is evident to this day. Browsing the market stalls, Jimothy bartered good-naturedly with the sellers, purchasing a burgundy sweater vest and a counterfeit TikTok sweater. He was charming and thoughtful company, if a little inclined toward sermonizing, whether on the importance of cultivating “severe happiness,” eating healthily or not overthinking things.

Jimothy has dyslexia and dyscalculia, which affects his ability to understand numbers — he wears a digital watch because he struggles to read a clock face — and went to a middle school for children with special educational needs.

There, he was exempt from the pressure to conform to the social vagaries of his peers, he said, but he was also understimulated and overlooked by teachers.

Instead, he taught himself what he needed to know via YouTube. He learned to dance by watching videos of body-poppers and hip-hop, which led to his jerky-fluid dance style. “That was my school,” he said. “Oh, my gosh. I learned more on YouTube than anything. Cooking, how to make friends, how to be confident, how to talk to girls, how to kiss. Everything.”


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