Marco McKinnis, a Hampton, Virginia-born R&B artist, has slowly risen in the musical sphere with his silky and soulful vocal range. He has featured in Rex Orange County’s renowned album Apricot Princess on “Nothing” and has collaborated with DJDS—duo DJs who have helped work on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo—on the tracks “Trees on Fire” and “Falling” seen in Big Wave More Fire. These features exhibit his flexibility in different genres outside his affinity for R&B considering that Rex Orange County and DJDS are alternative and electronic musicians, respectively.
McKinnis’ six-track EP, Underground, is saturated with layered instrumentals ranging from synthesized keyboards to acoustic guitar solos. Hit songs “Silence” and “CPR” gained recognition for its down-to-earth lyricism and overall old school vibes. Although many of McKinnis’ songs are reminiscent of the works produced by Babyface, Jon B., D’Angelo, and Maxwell, they still have their own fresh approach to R&B, and are similar to contemporary artists Brent Faiyaz and Daniel Caesar.
“CPR” music video:
Underground is a dichotomous EP that either sets the sultry mood for audiences looking for love—which can be felt in songs such as “Unwind” and “Still Waters”—or a poignant atmosphere for those who are trying to escape the aftermath of heartbreak, which “Another Love” and “Temperature” evoke.
Before his EP dropped, his singles “How I Feel” and “Middle of the Party” displayed the rawness accentuating his powerhouse vocals. The instrumentals on these tracks are white noise compared to the multiple rifts and effortless belting McKinnis employs. McKinnis’ music leaves the listener feeling nostalgic and vulnerable, yet yearning for consolation amidst his melodies.
— Patricia Damocles, Assistant Managing Editor