Chicago rapper and prison abolitionist Ric Wilson keeps swinging through the volcanic 'Soul Bounce'

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Lollapalooza will no doubt eat up way more than its share of the music ecosystem's attention when it kicks off Thursday, but thankfully there's a lot more going on in town. On Saturday, for example, the Wabash YMCA in Bronzeville hosts the Chicago Poetry Block Party, which not only celebrates poetry but also music and other arts. Rapper and prison abolitionist Ric Wilson is on the bill, and he's getting ready to drop the follow-up to last year's The Sun Was Out: an EP called Soul Bounce. Wilson takes to the EP's stylistically slippery tracks as eagerly as an ice skater warming up for the Olympics, displaying a fast-paced flow and limber vocal acrobatics.

Last week Wilson dropped the title track to Soul Bounce, an adventurous tune anchored by a brash instrumental; it opens with a sprightly piano melody and mutates into a bass-slapping dance cut spiked with a smoky guitar solo. "Soul Bounce" has got plenty of swing, and though the pileup of elements in the backing tracks sometimes threatens to drown out Wilson's vocals, he pushes through the noise with pluck. Toward its beginning he raps, "I hope you hear me / Before you judge me," and his explicit invitation makes it easy to get through the tune's volcanic ups and downs.

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