Local rap/jazz artist McKinley Dixon is at it again with his blend of a jazz quartet and his rhythmic rap lyrics in his new music video by local film collective RVATrack, “Circle The Block,” following his most recent album, Who Taught you To Hate Yourself?.
Photo by Stephen Gwaltney Photography
With his previous album highlighting the perspective of a young Black man who witnesses a drive-by shooting, Dixon continues his efforts to shed light on police brutality, racism, and other struggles a young Black man faces in today’s world. Through his emotionally-charged lyrics, packed with a truthful punch, “Circle The Block” adds another layer to this conversation through lines about targeting by police, unnecessary use of force, and, quite literally, circling the block for potential suspects.
The track is off a forthcoming album, titled The Importance of Self Belief, due out sometime in August.
Within the first couple lines of the song, Dixon calls out the unnecessary force used frequently on young Black men when they’re walking down the street: “I don’t mean to resist/So, officer, why your foot on my neck and my wrist?”
When he posted the video on his Facebook page, Dixon added “Stop killin’ my trans fam, for real,” adding recognition of the high number of homicides of trans women of color.
Frankly, the surprising mixture of coffeehouse-jazz and hip-hop wordsmithing works perfectly for Dixon’s style and messages. Shot in Scott Lane’s (The Congress) in home studio in Jackson Ward, Dixon can be seen passionately spitting his verses while his fellow musicians churn out beats and licks on drums, electric guitar, upright bass, and keyboard, even giving the latter two instruments lengthy solos.
The audio was mixed by Scott Lane. Camera work by Craig Zirpolo, Daniel Bagby, Gabrielle Silvers, and Joey Wharton. Editing by Daniel Bagbey gave for a smooth finish between cuts and final fade.
McKinley Dixon’s energy and relevant, contemporary lyrics on racial struggles for young Black men, specifically their conflict with police brutality, is given a breath of fresh air with his accompanying jazz quartet. His music video gives comfortable scenery for a tense topic. Hopefully, future tracks and videos will follow to give us more of a taste of Dixon’s talent.
Catch McKinley Dixon, alongside Pressure Fit, Brunswick, and CGI Jesus at The Camel Thurs. July 20. Details here.