Origins is a recurring series that gives artists a space to break down everything that went into their latest release. Today, former CoSign McKinley Dixon takes us through the title track of his forthcoming album.
Chicago-based rapper McKinley Dixon reveals the majesty of his new album with its name alone: Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? goes the title, with exclamation points that seem to say, “It’s that good, can you believe it?” and a concluding question mark that feels like a knowing wink and nudge. But it’s also a direct reference to Toni Morrison’s significant trilogy, and the album’s title track, which features Ms. Jaylin Brown, doubles down on the enveloping love that the title suggests.
Indeed, the former Consequence CoSign uses “Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?” as a brand new thesis statement — one he calls “a familial affair in all senses.” Though it’s the title track and carries an aura of confidence and discovery, Dixon describes it as the conclusion of an arc.
“The song itself represents the final chapter of the album’s story, while being the culmination of the individual tales told throughout,” he tells Consequence. “The song’s video and recording process represent that, too. Both have family and friends that I’ve gathered throughout my life, young and old.”
It’s fitting that Dixon’s new material is once again a personal, passionate foray into the complex nature of familial ties, faith, and the Black experience. His previous album, For My Mama and Anyone Who Look Like Her, dealt with similarly fraught topics, but interweaved Dixon’s complicated emotions into a patchwork of characters, musical styles, and stories. Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? seems to pick up where his previous work left off, and the concluding title track radiates with wisdom.
It’s fascinating to hear Dixon reflect on the role of his family and friends throughout his life, and his verse’s conclusion strikes an emotional chord: “When I was standing on the edge about to fall off of the cliff/ What kept me on was looking up and seeing my hand in your grip,” he cries, before the refrain rolls back in with the tender word, “Beloved.” You can hear the sheer weight of these words as he delivers them, deftly balancing his laidback flow with palpable emotion and heart.
Watch McKinley Dixon’s “Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?” video below, followed by his breakdown of the track’s Origins.
Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!? is out on June 2nd via City Slang Records and features the lead single, “Run, Run, Run.” Pre-orders are ongoing.