Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?
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McKinley Dixon calls the late Toni Morrison the greatest rapper of all time; and the way he tackles topics like survival, violence, and religion within the expansive landscape of the Black experience, evokes her novels. It is from the title of Morrison‘s Beloved trilogy where he finds the title of his new album with City Slang Records out June 2: Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? Musically his household was defined by “artists whose first name was Mary,” including Mary J. Blige and gospel duo Mary Mary. Discovering Outkast was formative for Dixon, deepening his love for hip-hop while he also grew curious about the more theatrical rock of groups of the day, bands like My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco that his Maryland friends introduced him to.
“Those groups also helped me with my sense of longing, since their music reflected a sense of longing,” he says. Eventually he channeled these competing influences into a debut EP he released in 2013. With time, his music became his primary means of self-expression, whether discussing Blackness or his own relationship with healing. Across his next releases, his style evolved and his confidence grew, especially when it came to live instrumentation.
His 2021 debut album For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her was a game changer, as Dixon set his sights on heartache and grief. “I was making these really dense and chaotic songs, stuffing whatever thought I had into five and a half minutes,” Dixon says of that project. Beloved! Paradise! Jazz?! is an attempt at channeling different impulses. Sometimes rough and other times delicate, this record is a journey into is a journey into the psyche of McKinley Dixon, with all of the of the attendant peaks and valleys.
1. Hanif Reads Toni (Feat. Hanif)
2. Sun, I Rise (feat. Angélica Garcia)
3. Mezzanine Tippin' (Feat. Teller Bank$, Alfred.)
4. Run, Run, Run
5. Live! From The Kitchen Table (Feat. Ghais Guevara)
6. Tyler, Forever
7. Dedicated To Tar Feather (Feat. Anjimile)
8. The Story So Far (Interlude)
9. The Story So Far (Feat. Seline Haze)
10. Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? (Feat. Ms. Jaylin Brown)