Ric Wilson


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Ric Wilson, Chromeo, & A-Trak announce their debut collaborative project, CLUSTERFUNK, out March 31st on EMPIRE/Free Disco, and present the video for “Clusterfunk,” the EP’s title track. Across 9 tracks, the trio fuse funk and Chicago soul into hip-hop. Complete with features from King Louie, Felicia Douglass of Dirty Projectors, STIC.MAN of Dead Prez, Kiéla Adira, and a passage from Mariame Kaba, CLUSTERFUNK steps in the name of intergenerational strength dialoguing across lines. Wilson’s trademark buoyancy shines with new attitude; there’s resilience, but not without fighting. He’s fighting, but loving all the same. Chromeo and A-Trak lend their signatures to keep Wilson weaving with new tempos, glistening like the Californian conditions they were made under. Down to the vocal clips and accents threading the project together, this EP symbolizes the melding of different Chicagos – different countries and continents! – getting in tune with collective struggle, placing movement in our movements, to fight the power, and find the groove.


The Chicago-made Ric Wilson was on a hell of a ride before the world shut down. The rapper, performer, and activist spent 2019 on a festival tear through Treefort, Rolling Loud, Governors Ball, and a hometown Pitchfork set. He also supported the likes of Cory Henry and Big Freedia; Wilson began 2020 opening for Drama on their North American tour, but lockdown canceled the rest of the run. As (almost) everyone forcibly sat with themselves, Wilson weathered the early pandemic days at his parents’ house. And with no outside, Wilson jumped back into organizing in Chicago. He also released his acclaimed They Call Me Disco EP with Terrace Martin, and a breakout single called “Fight Like Ida B & Marsha P.” In 2022, the momentum continued; Wilson was featured in a Rolling Stone x Bacardi cover story for Talent Knows No Borders, and “COCO BADASS” – his song with Kiéla Adera – was named a Top 10 Song of the Summer in TIME


Written and recorded in California in the midst of the pandemic, CLUSTERFUNK came to fruition after world-renowned DJ, producer, and Fool’s Gold founder, A-Trak, was introduced to Wilson’s music via Wilson’s Free Disco label partner and industry veteran, Russell Redeaux, which led to Trizzy sharing with his brother Dave 1 of the Canadian funk group Chromeo. In August 2020, as the pandemic raged on, and uprisings surged forward, all parties converged in the California sunshine to begin a rap record rooted in people power. The first session found the crew discussing socialism, communism, peoples movements, career oral histories, and anything else they could. After a few weeks of sketching the initial CLUSTERFUNK records, the four would reconvene the following two summers, each time bringing new experiences and channeling funk and soul to lend a new groove to turbulent times.


A moniker born from the beauty one finds in chaos, CLUSTERFUNK symbolizes the united vision of Wilson, Chromeo & A-Trak. The nine records on CLUSTERFUNK are vibrant, two-step-ready anthems for the freedom fighter in all of us. It’s for the cookout, the kickback, and your grandma’s Caprice on her Sunday errands. The nostalgic tint lights the way, calling upon funk and soul lineages for an update that aims between timely and timeless. If everything affects everyone, and there’s only a matter of time before it all falls in, it’s on us to stay ready. In Wilson’s vision, there are no leaders or celebrities. Perfect people don’t exist, but our power gives permission to take power back from those who transgress. There’s a familiar cry from older heads that the pro-Black, anti-establishment rap has long departed; CLUSTERFUNK answers on its own terms, inviting everyone into the party with a leaflet on the table.