NEW SIGNING ALERT: MCKINLEY DIXON
City Slang are so happy to announce that we have signed Richmond-born, Chicago-based wordsmith McKinley Dixon.
Today he unveils his next chapter and releases new single “Sun, I Rise” featuring Angélica Garcia with an accompanying music video.
“Sun, I Rise” is a virtuosic display of lyricism that journeys into Dixon’s psyche. The track pairs live drums with sparkling keys, as Dixon’s storytelling is joined by the melodies of fellow Richmond-based vocalist Angélica Garcia. He bounds between rapping and spoken word cadence, as he details the Black experience.
“I wanted to tell this story of a boy who’s sort of a mixture of Icarus and King Midas,” he explains. “He is now coming off this really big high that came out of trauma, but you can put them on anybody in his situation. The beginning of the song emphasizes someone who longs for the sun, someone who’s been close before. The character is sorta yelling at the sun and pleading for warmth and discussing the fall down."
The “Sun, I Rise” music video, directed by Ja-Wan Gardner, captures Dixon’s unique ability to subvert genres without necessarily blurring them together via the retro, dreamlike visuals. The song’s symphonic instrumentals reach an epic peak as Dixon spits hard-nosed bars about his growth and being far from where he began.
“I was heavily impacted by ‘Sun, I Rise’ when I first heard the record because I have always viewed the sun as my energy source, and ‘the light’ as a metaphor of something to pursue in order to establish a better life for myself,” Gardner says. “Dixon's opening line—’How I could underestimate sun? How I coulda been so blind from the light that it brung’—refers to the current state of the unawareness to ‘the light,’ so I used this opportunity to show what it is like for a Black male to chase and bask in the light, and how that energy is transferred from peer to peer, resulting in inevitable growth for those who accept the sun/light.”
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.