McKinley Dixon

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The idea of longing and escape is central to his music, especially his forthcoming project, the ambitious Beloved! Paradise! Jazz?!, named after the trilogy of novels from Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, the writer Dixon has described as “the greatest rapper ever.” Morrison’s novels looked into American history to locate eruptions of longing and escape with the beautiful sweep and precision of her prose. That’s the energy Dixon tries to channel on this album.

“The work of McKinley Dixon has always felt generous to me, as a listener, or how it operates as a portal,” the poet and critic Hanif Abdurraqib observed. “A window into a life that is decidedly not your life, but could maybe not be far off from your life, depending on where you’re from, what you know, what you haven’t let go of. It could be close to a life you’ve touched, or a life you’ve missed or longed for.”

Sometimes rough and other times delicate, Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? is a journey into the psyche of McKinley Dixon, with all of the attendant peaks and valleys. “I’m aiming for making my stories accessible,” he says, “while also still keeping it to the heart of what I love.”

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Jeroen van den Bogert



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