McKinley Dixon’s first album on indie label Spacebomb is magnificent. It’s hip hop through and through, but feels like performance art, pure rage, deep and dense poetry, and joyous celebration. Jazz that feels like the natural progression of Tribe Called Quest–similar to some of Kendrick Lamar’s work. Live instruments. Dixon switches up his style from track to track, with beats that move with him and lyrics that will force you to hit stop and rewind. It can be breathtaking and laugh at loud funny, all in the same cut.
It’s about tolerance and inclusion. It’s about diaspora. A song like “Protective Styles” is so simple–a refrain of, “Pardon my black ass, by my n###s need therapy,” murmured, sung low and sweet, and not much else. So simple. But it says so much. The machine gun intro to the jazzy “brown shoulders” are a wake up call. Mama’s Home is a lullaby, almost like 1990s New Age. The chaos of BBNE underscores its message, channeling Gil Scott Heron, that talks about “having something for black babies when we’re gone … ’cause pinky rings don’t, bullet holes don’t, fat chains don’t…”