Photo: Jimmie Fontaine

McKinley Dixon delivers modern mythology on the cinematic “Sun, I Rise”

Virginia-raised, Chicago-based rapper and multi-talent McKinley Dixon has returned with a new song called “Sun, I Rise”, following up last year’s excellent album For My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like Her. On the new track he says:

I wanted to tell this story of a boy who’s sort of a mixture of Icarus and King Midas. The beginning of the song emphasises someone who longs for the sun, someone who has been close before. The character is sorta yelling at the sun and pleading for warmth and discussing the fall down.”

Using his powerful and measured meter, Dixon unfolds his tale over a simple beat while a battalion of instruments wreathe around his voice. He takes classic tropes from myths like David and Goliath and transferring them to the streets he observes all too well, bringing their timeless message to the modern day with gripping skill. Around his bars, strings rise and Angélica Garcia’s voice teases, bringing even more grandiosity and heft to this classic story of light and dark.

The video for “Sun, I Rise” matches the song’s ambition, with director Ja-Wan Gardner saying: “I was heavily impacted by ‘Sun, I Rise’ when I first heard the record because I have always viewed the sun as my energy source, and ‘the light’ as a metaphor of something to pursue in order to establish a better life for myself. Dixon’s opening line—’How I could underestimate sun? How I coulda been so blind from the light that it brung’—refers to a state of unawareness of ‘the light,’ so I used this opportunity to show what it is like for a Black male to chase and bask in the light, and how that energy is transferred from peer to peer, resulting in inevitable growth for those who accept the sun/light.

Watch the video below or find “Sun, I Rise” on streamers.

“Sun, I Rise” is out on City Slang. You can find McKinley Dixon on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.