Rapper and prison abolitionist Ric Wilson streamlines his dance sound on the new Negrow Disco | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Rapper and prison abolitionist Ric Wilson streamlines his dance sound on the new Negrow Disco 

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click to enlarge Ric Wilson

Ric Wilson

Joseph Torres

Chicago rapper and prison abolitionist Ric Wilson has ambition to spare. On his self-released 2016 EP, Soul Bounce, he traverses instrumentals inspired by bachata, British house, or arena EDM, and his loquacious, blustery performances sometimes feel aggressively out of sync with the bustling patchwork of beats—but he’s smart enough to use that tension to fuel his hooks. Wilson streamlines his sound on the new self-released EP Negrow Disco, for which tonight’s show—his first headlining gig ever—is a release party. I’ve only heard a not-quite-­finished version, but throughout the EP his vocals mesh with each sleek melody like he’s slipping into a satin bathrobe—he sounds comfortable, and he knows how to wrap himself up so things feel right. Wilson’s funky recent single, “Ponytail,” works great as a preview to Negrow Disco—it’s a cool, down-­tempo, charming statement of self-­possession and confidence.   v

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