Taking inspiration from the original concept behind the founding of Saddle Creek, as an attempt to highlight our home city through music and art, we began the Document Series in 2017. Each release featured in the Document Series is comprised of an exclusive record featuring unreleased music from artists outside of the label's roster, along with a specially curated zine created by the artist. The ninth installment in the series comes from Richmond, VA based McKinley Dixon.
McKinley Dixon was born and raised in Maryland before later relocating to Richmond, Virginia, where he found a plethora of artists and friends who enabled his creative process to take formation. Assembling several bands, Dixon created a fusion of rap and jazz that Audiotree described as "looking through the eyes of people in his community to capture the true depth of diversity of the American black experience."
During 2016, Dixon created and released his debut mixtape, Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?. The mixtape, which follows the chronicles of a young, black boy who witnesses a drive-by in his neighborhood, unfolds with "the grim realities of the sociopolitical atmosphere and class struggle around him" (RVA Mag) - including gang violence, police brutality and self hatred; various themes that are forced upon black bodies. Largely recorded in his bedroom, the mixtape also sees Dixon incorporate the talents of 20+ visual and musical artists.
Released In 2018, follow-up mixtape The Importance of Self Belief was said to be "comparable to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ coming-of-age memoir The Beautiful Struggle" by NPR’s Rodney Carmichael, and was also placed on NPR’s "Slingshot: Artist To Watch List."
Dixon's new 7", the latest installment in Saddle Creek's Document series, features two brand new recordings. Lead track "Anansi, Anansi" is inspired by a character in West African folklore that’s known for being an exquisite storyteller. He is also seen as a symbol of slave resistance and revolt, often using his sharp tongue and quick wits to deceive his oppressor. "I liken the way he is passed along orally, the way he is told to children," said Dixon, "and what he stands for with my ideologies and the resilience of the caged bird, and concrete flower."
"Wit These" is about a childhood friend that Dixon lost in 2018. The song expresses the scramble and need to have wings. To levitate and to leave, how they can help you and how they can be obtained. The song deals with storytelling as an act of revolution, as an ode to loved ones, memories being solidify through songs.
Both tracks deal with the act of looking up from the ground.
Release Date: September 20th, 2019
1. Anansi, Anansi
2. Wit These