I don’t usually Stan too hard when I can help it. That said, every so often there’s artists, groups, projects or whatever else that you watch grow from the beginning, and it usually makes the moment when that artist really finds themselves all the more satisfying. That’s the case with this latest Ric Wilson EP, ‘BANBA’. While Ric’s talent has been apparent since his days as one half of Fuck Yo Institution alongside David Ellis, and has since refined his ability into continually better works of art that have piqued for the moment here. On BANBA (Black Art, Not Bad Art), Wilson proves the ability to continually evolve both as a musician and as a person and it’s all easily evident from the first beat drop on track one. Rhyme schemes have more twists and turns, melodies fit perfectly, the musical elements are well-thought. For anyone who’s watched and listened to Ric’s patently different style of pop-leaning hip-hop, this album represents an artistic breakthrough.
Having heard rumblings from the management team with Wilson for awhile now, it’s apparent that this is one piece in a larger puzzle that also saw him featured in a recent Bonobos ad campaign alongside Kevin Coval and Kweku Collins, who makes a guest appearance on “Sinner”. I honestly could go on for days about this project, and this is only after a couple initial listens. The most important thing that Wilson represents to me is the interpersonal understanding and feeling of personal responsibility that he is able to navigate at a time when victim and perpetrator are argued over with regularity. In his world, he can point out a wrong without making himself the victim. Rather, he casts himself as a perpetual learner, a student of life that is eager to share the lessons with those that listen to him. In that way, he’s an ideal millennial artist at a time when so many are focused on thinly-veiled clout. The fact you can get out of your chair and get moving to his work as well? That’s just another added plus among many for Ric Wilson and his latest work. Get into BANBA asap and catch Ric performing the tracks live on June 2 at Lincoln Hall. As always, catch the songs playing regularly on Mild Sauce Radio.