Cincinnati-bred rapper Roberto has delivered his first project of the year: the Many Truths EP. Balancing carefully crafted verses with a casual flow, Roberto’s introspective lyrics are perfectly housed within Matador’s gritty lo-fi production. Vulnerability and easy-listening coexist as the standout qualities of the six-track project, while songstress Ladi Tajo adds a drop of syrupy sweetness on the EP’s lone collaboration, “nowhere2run.”
“Ladi Tajo and I are really good friends and have been for a while. We’d been working on some tracks for a collab LP that we plan to release in the spring and were in the studio together when Matador sent the instrumentals through,” Roberto tells AudioFemme of the feature.
The Cincy MC makes lyrical strides throughout the first five songs, sprinkling personal anecdotes and inner thoughts along the way. However, Many Truths hits its peak vulnerability on closing track, “Close To You,” where Roberto wraps up a project that you can tell he’s proud of.
“I felt like I was taking a victory lap, in a way. It was probably around 5 or 6 a.m. and I was in the studio recording [“Close To You”], running off adrenaline and coffee,” he described of the final song. “I was just reflecting on everything, from seeing success in music before I graduated high school, and then taking a three-year hiatus, disappointing releases, the fear of being seen, and everything that kept me from releasing music for a long time.”
“I felt like everything had come full-circle,” he continued. “Whether it be the fact that I’ve been trying to muster up a project I felt confident in for years, my long-time relationship with Matador finally becoming fruitful, constantly wondering when I’d be able to get a record out with Ladi Tajo, or comparing myself, wanting to prove myself to my peers – it was all laid to rest in the five-day period of creating the project.”
Roberto describes obstacles that many artists struggle with – the pursuit of perfection, feelings of self-doubt, and the fear of being exposed. At the beginning of “nowhere2run,” a conversation between him and Ladi Tajo epitomizes the feeling, where he can be heard jokingly suggesting they start from scratch entirely, rather than put out their record.
“For a long time, that’s precisely how I’ve felt,” he said. “And all I had to do was lock in, focus, and be honest with myself. Essentially it felt like I had been worrying so long about how others saw me, that I had forgotten to see myself.”
From top to bottom, the one-minute “Many Truths” intro provides a perfect bite-sized sample of what’s to come. “Dear, Mrs. Whatshername” and “Canismoke.wav” ease the listener to-and-fro the standout track, “nowhere2run.” The EP ends on a strong note, with the “Close To You” outro. Matador and Roberto are a clear producer-rapper match made in heaven, with Matador’s immersive lo-fi acting as the ideal backdrop to Roberto’s gentle, yet purposeful, bars.
“The last three years or so has, in essence, been me tirelessly creating content just to leave it on my hard drive and try to create something better the next day. I’ve written and conceptualized entire albums just to scrap them entirely or to throw away certain songs,” he said. “The recordings you hear [in Many Truths] are the first and only drafts I made for the songs and the mixing and mastering was done immediately after writing and recording each individual track, with me virtually living in the studio to make sure I had no choice but to get it finished.”
Stream Many Truths below.