According to Ric Wilson, Chicago has reasons to celebrate 2015. The city has heard the voice of activists such as himself to bring about real change.

“Right now I’m sort of smiling looking at the successful year we had in the organizing community here in Chicago,” the emcee says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX.

One example is that the University of Chicago announced it will open a trauma center at its Hyde Park campus. This decision comes “after years of organizing and constant resistance,” Wilson explains. The opening “is big because the closest trauma center on the South Side is past downtown and with the creation of one on the South this can save a lot of lives.”

Another reason to feel accomplished is that at the top of the month, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was forced to resign. Wilson, a member of the Black Youth Project 100 and We Charge Genocide, calls McCarthy “corrupt and racist.” He says McCarthy was the subject of many protests in the Windy City, which intensified when video of the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was released. McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer last year. The officer was charged with first-degree murder in November.

“We the young Black and Brown protestors pressured the city to fire him from his position,” Wilson says of McCarthy.

Wilson says that he is continuing to find his identity balancing activism with his music. He released his The Sun Was Out EP last month.

“I’m really trying to find out where my activism and art mix,” he says. “I’m noticing I’m becoming more of a mouthpiece to the movement so I think it’s my duty to never turn my back on my people and Black struggles.”

The EP consists of eight tracks and includes features from Tasha Ace and C$. Wilson balances the use of Auto-Tune with thought-provoking storytelling. This is the follow-up to the 20-year-old’s debut mixtape, Penny Rapswhich he released in April.

“I feel Penny Raps was me really trying to just show folks I can rap and what I rap about and my story and where I was coming from,” he says. “The Sun Was Out is about me finding myself, my sound, and personally getting out of a form of depression I was going through this past summer.”

Ric Wilson’s The Sun Was Out EP cover art, tracklist and stream are below:

  1. The Sun Was Out Intro (Prod. Tessellated)
  2. Drive You Crazy (Prod. Melaniac & Tsukudu)
  3. Lost Soul feat. Tasha Ashe (Prod. Melaniac)
  4. Lord Have Mercy (Prod. GrizzRivers & James Gent)
  5. Maybe It’s Both (Prod. Melaniac)
  6. Do You Hear Me (Prod. J.L.L)
  7. Be Golden feat. C$ (Prod. Melaniac)
  8. How You Doing (Prod. GrizzRivers & SHIFTS)