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Richmond, Virginia-based rap/jazz musician McKinley Dixon uses his penchant for story crafting to make music that sheds light on societal ills. His mixtape, Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?, is a deep narrative of the black experience in America, touching on the everyday prevalence of police brutality, gang violence , and racial discrimination. Continuing a planned trilogy with The Importance of Self Belief, Dixon recording the record with producer Onirologia with a lengthy list of musicians and collaborators. In addition to addressing race-related issues, Dixon had intentions of making this mixtape more inclusive, emphasizing the portrayal of trans people, femme people, and black women.

A boisterous saxophone opens up Announcing Humanity, establishing a funky groove that remains even when they’ve gone quiet. With a swell of joy, Afro-pop- esque vocal samples chime a hook that juxtaposes its jocund tone: they will find you when you run / flying closer to the sun. Weaving with his sharp kinetic flow, Dixon addresses a reality filled with hate and discrimination. Undeterred by the constant presence of systemic oppression, he exudes optimism with the removal of self-doubt and empathy.

Cereal Pairing: Wheaties