Ron Rico releases "Black History" right on time

Ron Rico has long been one of the producers in the city bridging the worlds of hip-hop and Baltimore club music, although his soulful midtempo tracks for MCs like Mike Malachi often bore little similarity to his raucous club tracks. Over the years Rico has dropped verses here and there, but didn't seem to take rapping as seriously as producing until last summer's In My Own Little World EP. And his new track  "Black History," out just in time for the beginning of Black History Month,  is a confident new step forward for him as an MC."Black History," like many Ron Rico productions, is heavily sample-based, with the beatmaker taking cues from influences like The Rza and J Dilla to find fresh new ways to chop up old breaks. While tracks on last year's EP often featured assists from rappers like Malachi or Greenspan, Ron Rico goes solo here, throwing his fist up and name-checking Marcus Garvey and Langston Hughes over jazzy horns. The track is more celebratory and evocative than it is lyrically substantial, but Black Month History is, after all, a celebration, and Ron Rico does have some experience getting the party started.

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