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McKinley Dixon

His music harkens back to the jazz-oriented hip-hop of the ’90s, like A Tribe Called Quest and Slum Village, and Dixon employs a full band to accompany his eagle-eyed penchant for observation. Dixon’s style mirrors the hyper-realistic and progressive stylings of literary icons like Toni Morrison and James Baldwin.

His most recent album, Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?, is an expansive, street-worn album that documents the stories of the dearly departed, whether by violence or lifestyle. Another issue explored consistently throughout Dixon’s music is representation and the ultimately debilitating effects of carrying around a burden that you can’t even recognize is there. Dixon’s next album, his second in a planned trilogy, is called The Importance of Self Belief and is out soon.

- Nicholas Coyne of TIDAL