RiC is an emcee, producer, and activist who refuses to let popular culture dictate who and what he should be. The young suburbanite makes his music with a clear purpose without sacrificing the “cool” that has made hip hop culture one of the dominant forces in the evolving global culture. And in a world where cultural borders are dissolving due to social media such as Youtube, Facebook, and Soundcloud, learning how to stay true to one’s tastes (no matter how over determined they may be by the world outside one’s self) while navigating through the rapidly morphing world of sound, is a true skill for which RiC must be commended for picking up!
RiC is from originally from La Grange, a small town in Southern Illinois. As a child, his family moved to Chicago’s South Side, then a South Suburb. His home was a place where Alex Haley’s Roots and religion were given to him constantly. Also given to RiC were stories from elders about the “good ole days,” the music of Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, as well as Southside hoop dreams. However, this routine was soon interrupted by 2Pac’s “I Ain’t Mad At Cha.” RiC recalled that the song changed his life by demonstrating how powerful music could be, even when sampled from the songs on which he was raised.
As an adolescent, RiC began to pen his first songs and experiment with sampling and making his own tracks. At first he wrote only love songs, utilizing them to express his emotions as one would a personal journal. After letting one of his friends listen to some of his work, RiC began rapping and writing songs for other people.
Two older cousins became important in RiC’s confidence as a writer and producer. One, J. Wells (Bonzi Records) gave RiC a keyboard and sampler and assured him that he was capable of becoming a talented artist. The other became a mentor figure to RiC, teaching him about hip hop’s roots and introducing him to emcees like KRS-ONE and Lauryn Hill. This cousin also encouraged RiC to make positive music, something that the 16-year-old keeps at the core of his work.
One example of RiC’s music is his song “UnconditionalLove,” which features vocalist, Nicole Eboni. The track is mainly built using the first two bars of Stevie Wonder’s “Rocket Love,” an original drum track, and lyrics that will cause the youth and adults who listen to seriously interrogate their romantic relationships. RiC challenges us to discard toxic relationships; “that stuff is dead and [RiC’s] tired of saving it.” Instead, We should struggle to rise above possessiveness, lust, and superficial connections to create and maintain healthy interactions with the people whom We “love.” [update: the track is featured on “Radiant Souls Mixtape Vol. 2“]
Besides recording songs that make good use of critical thinking and musical talent, RiC is an activist who’s involved with the ChicagoFreedomSchool, a tough contender in cross-country, and a producer for other artists. He’s a co-founder of the music collective, FRGEnt, and an artist on his mentor/friend’s label, URD Ent.
RiC is currently preparing to release a mixtape called, “Conversations With The Soul.” The project is self-reflective and imaginative. It features RiC’s daily thoughts to himself as he evolves as an activists and liberatory thinker. So definitely stay connected with RiC, because he will be dropping new singles leading up to the full mixtape.
[update: check out RiC’s latest video, “A Moving Star” on Youtube.