Roberto and Risky Patterns Reunite for ‘Invierno’ EP

Photo Credit: Carter Hawks

Cincinnati rapper Roberto and South Texas-based producer Risky Patterns returned last week with their latest joint offering, Invierno, which Roberto will celebrate with a livestream release party via Zoom on Saturday, March 6. The six-song EP marks the second installment in the duo’s seasonal-themed series, after 2020’s Verano (Spanish for “summer;” with Invierno, which means winter, out now, the pair will next release Primavera in spring and Otoño in fall). They first teamed up on last year’s Many Truths EP, when Risky Patterns was still using the moniker Matador. 

For Invierno, Roberto and Risky Patterns continue to build on to the chemistry that they initiated with Many Truths and serve up a new Southern hip hop sound. The pair started writing songs for the project and testing them out for live audiences while touring in Texas with Devin Burgess at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic. 

“[Risky Patterns] sent me the first beat I ever rapped on when I was 16. So, it kind of built itself into a relationship to the point where I was grabbing beats off his Soundcloud and then we ended up touring together,” Roberto tells Audiofemme. “When we were touring, which is the only time we’ve ever been together in person, we were working on this project.”

Invierno has the audible ease of a project written pre-Coronavirus and the wild stories that can only be captured while on the road. Each track is named after a significant destination in the duo’s Texas travels, such as the desolate “Exit 51,” where Roberto, Risky Patterns and Devin got stranded after running out of gas.

Roberto, who hails from Texas but is based in Cincinnati, said he also felt a special kind of grounding from creating the EP in his home state. “When I was in Texas, shit just kept coming to me,” he recalls. “I don’t know if it was my ancestors or what… but I was really just doing what I felt like I was being told.”

The project still feels a heavy Queen City presence, though, as the rapper calls on several of his “best friends” for features. Invierno sees welcomed assists from local artists Jay Hill, Ladi Tajo and GrandAce, as well as out-of-towners Na$ty and Miles Powers. 

“This project is new to me in that way,” says Roberto. “There’s artists on there that I really admire. This project is reflective of my mission statement as an artist, which is to connect my roots to my upbringing between Texas and Ohio. Everybody here that I know has [a] Risky Patterns [beat] in their head somewhere, and a lot of people of over here I knew would sound good on his beats.”

The collaborative chemistry is especially felt on “sharpstown usa” – the electrifying result of Roberto’s years-long friendship with Jay Hill and Ladi Tajo. “That song makes me so happy,” he says. “Back in the early days, we would all pull up to any show in Cincinnati together. If I did a show, it would be Ladi Tajo and [Jay Hill’s group] Patterns of Chaos with me. Their song ‘Sleep Paralysis’ that they did together; I mixed that song. I’m really glad that chemistry got to be heard.”

2020 was an extremely prolific year for Roberto; in addition to two EPs and some singles with Risky Patterns, he also released purpan collab Happy Birthday, his “face/off” single with Khari (which includes b-side “escape”) and some stand-alone singles as well. “Last year, I dropped like six times,” Roberto says. “This year I’m focusing on making my drops mean more, rather than doing them more often. I didn’t take a lot of time out for burnout and things like that. I think if I take some time for rest, it’ll make more sense on my end.”

Roberto plans to head back to Texas to self-quarantine with Risky Patterns to “knock out” Primavera and Otoño, which he thinks will be finished “in like two weeks.” When asked if he and Risky Patterns will ever swap rapper and producer roles for a project, he responded, “Yes, I’m definitely looking forward to that.” This summer, Roberto will actually release his first-ever self-produced project.

“All the music that you hear from the two of us, he’s produced [and] I’ve written, mixed and mastered, but people don’t know that I can also produce and he can rap,” he explains. “We both do both things, but when we first met, we were very far into one way. Now, we’ve been getting into both crafts, so it’s a growing relationship in a musical sense.” 

Follow Roberto on Instagram for ongoing updates.

Stallitix, THRIVE Cincy and Elementz Produce Cincinnati’s First-Ever Hip Hop Orchestra

hip hop orchestra
hip hop orchestra
Photo Credit: Oussmane Falls

Though hip hop has a habit of sampling strings for an added dose of cinematic sound, it’s not every day that audiences get to see a full orchestra playing Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West. Alex Stallings – a.k.a Stallitix of Patterns of Chaos – is looking to change that. In partnership with Cincinnati youth outreach program Elementz, Stallings co-composed and executive produced the first-ever live-streamed production of THRIVE’s Hip Hop Orchestra, and he hopes the project will live on as a series. 

“We wanted to do something cool that brings people who don’t go see hip hop to a show, and people who don’t come see classical music to a show,” Stallings tells Audiofemme. “We’re trying to mesh those different worlds.”

Meshing the likes of Ye’s “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” (which samples Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever”) and Kendrick’s “LUST” (from 2017 LP DAMN.) into classical music is about breaking down each individual sound, says Stallings. “Hip hop itself sounds simple, but there’s a lot of things you can add,” he explains. “It’s the process of finding what sounds like the [hip hop] sound. If the song has an ambient sound, let’s see if violins can recreate that. Or, if you have a very low bass sound, let’s get a synth player to replace that. It adds flavor to it. It’s a very experimental process, finding that right sound and the right range for what sounds cool.” The performance took place December 17 at Cincinnati’s Music Hall and is still streaming via THRIVE Cincy’s Facebook.

The performance was also co-composed by Preston Charles III and featured musicians from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and beyond – several of whom played steadily in the city before the pandemic. “It’s a beautiful thing, bringing different people together to create something we’re all equally passionate about,” says Stallings. “We have a lot of diverse musicians: white, Black, women, men, people who identify as nonbinary. We have a palette of different people with different stories about why they like hip hop. They all come from different backgrounds. One person, their whole family plays classical music, and they just love hip hop. Another, their father was a rock musician in China, and they like hip hop… I think it’s a beautiful thing; we’re creating a conversation.”

Stallings, who leads Elementz’s THRIVE Cincy, first approached the hip hop-centric arts center with the idea not only to bridge fans between the two genres, but also to put the city’s musicians back in the spotlight. “It was very hard at the beginning of the pandemic, but we took the initiative,” says Stallings. Elementz, which offers music and other classes and serves as a home-away-from-home for many Cincinnati kids, has taken their courses and outreach mostly online amidst COVID-19. “I think this [performance] is one of the biggest buzzes we’ve had, especially for Elementz online. I think everyone should be impressed; this will definitely lead to something bigger – maybe a program or a series that goes on for months at a time.”

Hip Hop Orchestra / Elementz

On Instagram, Stallings has used THRIVE Cincy to support hip hop artists in the city while performances have been scarce. “Since summer, we’ve been putting out videos from different artists, playing their music and interviews with artists,” he says. “Next year, we’re moving into a different direction, where we’ll do one music video per artist and spotlight that. During the pandemic, there’s been no places to perform, so this helps them out.”

As for his own musical ventures, Stallings says fans can expect a new album from Patterns of Chaos – fronted by himself and Jay Hill – next year.

“It’s gonna be different than Freedom,” their 2018 EP, he says. “It’s gonna be fun and it’s gonna address some deeper issues like race, self and gender. It’s gonna be very experimental; you couldn’t really put us in a category, and that’s what we want.”

Follow Alex Stallings on Instagram and THRIVE Cincy on Facebook for ongoing updates.

Electronic Duo 18th Vineyard Show Versatility With ‘2 Deep’ Debut

2 Deep

2 Deep
Photo Credit: Josiah Seurkamp

The debut effort from Cincinnati-based production duo 18th Vineyard, 2 Deep, has arrived. The two-track EP delivers an experimental hip-hop/jazzy beat on “Adam Levine” – expertly paired with somber bars from Jay Hill and Roberto –  while both electronic and live sounds on “False Idols” offer as many sonic twists and turns as a winding psychedelic road.

Comprised of Ziaire Sherman and Gerred Twymon, the duo first met in middle school and played together in the Ohio Music Education Association jazz ensemble. After reuniting during an audition in Boston, they decided to create their first joint project as 18th Vineyard.

“Our goal for our debut project was to show versatility,” Twymon told AudioFemme. “We wanted something that could catch the eyes of people that enjoy hip-hop, but also like electronic music.”

As for linking with Patterns of Chaos‘ Jay Hill and Roberto, the 2 Deep collaboration was born out of a like-minded 16-hour jam session.

“Roberto has been a good friend of ours for a while and we are both big fans of Jay Hill’s work with Patterns of Chaos. We ended up playing a gig together and the vibes were just all clicking,” Twymon explained. “A few days later, we decided to hit the studio and see what [came] out of it. It turned out to be almost a 16-hour session. During this time, we were able to get two tracks and a beat done. It also started at 10 pm, so throughout the session, one of us would take a nap while others were working, and we alternated throughout the night.”

The evident sonic variety comes from both members’ diverse musical backgrounds.

“I have strong roots in gospel music and fusion, where Ziaire has more roots in electronic music and jazz,” Twymon said. “Through many years of jamming, we have developed a sonic space that allows us to call on all of these influences. Our biggest goal with every song is to present a story or a journey sonically that the listener can join in on.”

After releasing their debut project, 18th Vineyard is currently working on a follow-up two-song release, titled 2 Packs. Looking ahead, 2 Deep will also be followed by a collaborative poetry EP with California-based artist and animator Devon Iverson, which will feature a “diverse range of poets” and provide “sonic palettes to help them tell their stories.”

For now, get to know 18th Vineyard through their 2 Deep EP below.

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Celebrates Thriving Scene

Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

Cincinnati’s CityBeat hosted the 22nd annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards at Memorial Hall this Sunday in Over-The-Rhine. The awards ceremony honored the city’s grinding music makers, legends, and up-and-comers.

To kick off the night, the returning Cincinnati Music Ambassador Award – which is awarded to homegrown icons – was renamed the Bootsy Collins Music Ambassador Award in honor of the funk legend, who accepted the honor via video.

The evening, which was hosted by former WNKU music director Aaron Sharpe, also saw several energetic performances from the likes of Maria Carrelli, Bla’szé, Patterns of Chaos, Rock winner Go Go Buffalo, and Multimagic.


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As for the awards, TRIIIBE won the coveted Artist of the Year and the Hip Hop awards, with Carriers taking home Album of the Year for Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else. Other awards included Arlo McKinley for Best Singer/Songwriter, The Tillers for Best Live Act, 500 Miles to Memphis for Best Music Video, and Madqueen for New Artist of the Year.

By genre, Dallas Moore took home the Country star award, Tiger Sex reigned in Punk, The Cliftones won in World / Reggae, Blue Wisp Big Band for Jazz, Lift the Medium for Metal, Freekbass for R&B, Ricky Nye for Blues, Moonbeau for Electronic artist, Bluegrass for the Rumpke Mountain Boys, and Sundae Drives won as Alternative artist.

Although several of the winners – including Rumpke Mountain Boys, Dallas Moore, and Ricky Nye – were either late or absent, the no-shows were due to busy touring and concert scheduling conflicts, which is just a reminder of the active music scene that the CEAs aim to celebrate.

Watch the entire 2019 22nd Annual Cincinnati Entertainments Awards below.

PLAYING CINCY: Khari Unites Cincinnati Emcees In “Da Art Of Ignorance” Remix

Da Art of Ignorance remix

Earlier this year, Cincinnati rapper Khari released his debut project, Sinsinnati. Now, he’s enlisted some of the Queen City’s best talent to hop on a remix of the standout track, “Da Art of Ignorance.” Maintaining his hard-hitting chorus, Khari swaps his verses out for bars from Allen4President, Dayo Gold, Phresh Kyd, Roberto, B.A.N.K.$. and ¡Jay Hill!

The original “Da Art of Ignorance” arrived with a thought-provoking visual, directed by Kevin Garner and backed by Khari’s affiliated production company, Be The Best Entertainment (BTB). In the newly remixed version, the Cincinnati emcees apply the pressure to the bold and dance-worthy track.

After Khari’s initial hook, Allen4President cuts in around the :40 mark. “I seen it all / From the dope killings and the potholes / From the Queen City to the King’s Island / We got queens, really, so why kings wildin’?” he raps.

“I hopped on the remix for numerous reasons,” Allen told AudioFemme. “It’s a good song and I can relate to it. I truly believe it’s a crazy world, but I can’t speak to what I don’t know. I’ve seen, heard, and have done a lot in Cincinnati. It just made sense and was on par with what I normally make music about – the real-life experiences of Cincinnati.”

“I’m happy for Khari, simply because I like all of the moves he makes, along with his team,” he continued. “There’s a big support system behind Khari and the rest of BTB and I’m happy he reached out in the way he did. He’s 1,000% accomplishing a lot in a small amount of time and it’s inspiring to see. Gotta respect and show love to the real!”

Following Allen’s verse, Dayo Gold arrives to lay some heat of his own.

“Khari is just a guy with a lot of energy and passion when he’s performing and I immediately connected with that,” Dayo said of working with Khari. “He hollered at me about jumping on the remix and I said yeah, no question. I’ve always wanted to jump on a remix—it’s just so hip hop to me. Especially with the song being from someone I view with dope talent.”

Landing at around the 2-minute mark Phresh Kyd hops in with his own flow. “What’s inside I bet will differ / From whatever you consider / Let me guess, I’m a high-class pothead / On the way to penitentiary since I’m not dead,” he spits.

B.A.N.K.$. marks the track’s next arrival with a boost of energy. “Mr. Miyagi, we turn up the party / Popping the bottles, I’m pouring Bacardi / Feel Like a Migos, I’ll take a Ferrari / Offset, now I got me a Cardi,” he raps.

Patterns of Chaos’ ¡Jay Hill! and Roberto trade the remix’s remaining bars, maintaining fierce intensity until Khari closes out the track.

“I decided to recruit those guys because, first and foremost, they are good artist friends of mine here in the city and I respect all of their artistry,” Khari said. “The idea of doing a remix came about when I put on my show for my album Sinsinnati. All those guys were on the bill with me and we all put on a great show in front of a nice crowd at Arts’ OTA. The idea hit me instantly after seeing everyone rock their sets to do a remix with those guys.”

“‘Da Art of Ignorance’ was the fan-favorite off my album and every time I perform it people sing all the words,” he continued. “So it felt right to bring the city together even more with a remix that included some of my favorite Cincy artists.”

Check out Khari’s remixed “Da Art of Ignorance,” featuring ¡Jay Hill!, Roberto, B.A.N.K.$., Phresh Kyd, Dayo Gold and Allen4President below.

PLAYING CINCY: Introducing Cincinnati Rap Trio Patterns of Chaos

Patterns of Chaos is a Cincinnati hip hop trio creating positive and sometimes head-banging hip-hop emphasizing heavily conscious messages about to bless your life. Cellist and rapper Christoph “Toph” Sassmannshaus, producer Alexander “Stallitix” Stallings and rapper Jay Hill met at Off Tha Block Mondays, a collaborative hip-hop showcase that Stallitix launched at The Mockbee. The group has had a busy year, releasing their latest album Freedom in June and brand new single “Sleep Paralysis” last week. Right now, they’re gearing up for some big things in 2019, including a monthly residency at Revel OTR Urban Winery, a collaborative studio networking effort they’ve named the Nervous System and another full-length project. Here, get to know the guys, their album and what to expect next year.

AF: So the single that you just released, “Sleep Paralysis,” came about really organically; can you tell me more about that?

T: We all record at my house—I have a studio set up where everything can be recorded constantly all the time. [Alex] was making a beat, I was making a bass line, Jay was writing a rap and then Gabi (Ladi Tajo) just started singing and we were like, ‘Get in front of the microphone!’ So she got in front of the microphone and jammed for like ten minutes.

J: I actually wrote like the first eight bars of that verse before that night. It was about self-preservation, but in a healthy way, as in trying not to waste myself. It’s basically like what sleep paralysis feels like—you’re just watching it unfold.

A: It’s a smooth song, but it has a very cryptic theme to it. I think sleep paralysis is something anybody over the age of 18 has dealt with, and like figuring out what it is to be an adult. Feeling like you’ve got to make an impact on the world, but also loving thyself.

AF: Your album Freedom came out this year – what were some of your inspirations going into the album and what were some of the messages you were trying to convey?

A: We’re different people, but we have similar stories. I think our approach was we were trying to speak a story to people in high school, where you have all these different friends—there’s the nerd, the gamer, the cool one—but in that same breath you still feel alone. Our second song, “Amorphous,” came from how you can fit into all these constructs and yet nobody can put you in a box. And then also dealing with problems of the past that keep coming up, like racism.

J: Systematic oppression—we were born into this war that we have no choice but to participate in and it’s already my kid’s problem—and I don’t have kids! And I think it’s really weird how a lot of the world’s issues are based on millennials and they try to blame us for things that we’re not even old enough to influence because that’s just not how the government works. Watching this all happen again, after they told us these exact issues were solved when we were young—it’s kind of a shock. Being told you can do anything, you can be anything, and then accessing the Internet like, ‘These motherfuckers lied to me!’ More than anything, I feel angry. Feeling like we shouldn’t have had to worry about it—thought it was dead gone and forgotten.

AF: That theme definitely shines through the song “MMM.” Do you guys each have a favorite song off the record?

A: “Free Your Body Your Mind” because I get to push more buttons.

T: My favorites are probably “Amorphous” because of Gabi and “32 Love” because I like bars.

AF: Toph, when did you learn how to play the cello?

T: I’ve been classically trained and I’ve been playing classical music for most of my life. About two years ago I was going to shows while I was in music school and seeing these really experimental acts and one day I saw somebody make loops and somebody else rap over it and my mind was blown. I was like, ‘I want to do that!’ So I got an electric cello and a looper pedal and I started making beats.

Credit: Patterns of Chaos

AF: Very cool. Where did the idea for the monologue at the end of “Let’s Talk Freedom” come from?

T: It’s kind of our thing to have a little break where Alex can talk because I get to talk, Jay gets to talk, so it gives him the floor. And he used to do spoken word.

A: Yeah, back in Sacramento I was part of a youth [poetry] slam team, Brave New Voices. When I came out here I started making beats and stuff like that; they’re trying to get me back into it.

AF: You should! It adds a unique texture. Who are some of your musical influences?

J: Kanye, but also Das Racist is my favorite group ever. Rage Against the Machine. Utada Hikaru, she’s a Japanese singer. I like her music, it’s healing.

A: J Dilla, John Coltrane, soundtracks like Kill BillStylistics, Al Green, all of Motown, Sarah Vaughan.

T: [Johannes] Brahms, MF DOOM, Gentle Giant.

AF: Who are some artists you’d love to collaborate with?

T: “Weird Al” Yankovic [laughs]. We’ve been trying to collab with every Cincinnati artist.

Credit: Patterns of Chaos

AF: You guys have a single in the works. What else is coming up?

T: We have a bunch of unreleased music in the works.

AF: Are you looking at releasing a full project in 2019?

T: Yeah, we’re looking at a full project and we’ve got some music videos coming out.

A: And we’re doing a few shows in California in January in San Francisco, L.A. and Sacramento.

AF: Cool! So what can fans expect from you guys next year in terms of shows out here?

T: Costumes!

J: We’re gonna make the shows a bit more showman-like.

AF: Matching costumes? Maybe capes?

T: I don’t see why we couldn’t do capes.

J: Picture The Incredibles on stage.

A: No capes!

T: It’s two against one, so we’re gonna come out with capes [laughing].

J: We’re gonna up the showmanship while maintaining the rawness of the music. Just a little sugar to go with the medicine, without decreasing the potency of what we are trying to say.

Credit: Patterns of Chaos