If you were to paint a picture of someone whose hobby-turned-passion for hip hop music propelled him up the music charts towards stardom, you would have a portrait of Rioma. Born in New Jersey, Mario Joseph Jacovino, aka Rioma, meshes a distinct flow, meaningful lyrics, and a unique style that he says are influenced by iconic artists like Travis Scott and Post Malone.
Rioma’s signature sound has garnered him attention and won him fans worldwide. He’s learned a thing or two from Scott, who is known for combining hip hop, ambient, and lo-fi styles, and Malone, known for merging country, hip hop, and grunge. But rather than simply mirroring the sounds of some of his idols, Rioma’s focused on developing a unique sound that is all his own.
Rather than simply mirroring the sounds of some of his idols, Rioma’s focused on developing a unique sound that is all his own.
“I’m heavily influenced by Travis Scott and Post Malone,” says 25-year-old Rioma. “Travis changed music for me, honestly. When I first heard ‘Days Before Rodeo,’ my favorite genre instantly became that. The mixing and engineering, his wordplay, the energy he brings, he’s all the right vibes.”
Rioma’s steady climb to the top hasn’t come without a struggle. While he enrolled as a student at Wilkes University in 2013, he was out by 2016, without a degree. As he had gotten more and more involved in creating hip hop music with roommates, he began to miss so many classes that the university expelled him. But this only intensified his love for making music, and it helped him cope with the turmoil. He soon started recording every day as he polished his craft and developed his own lyrical style. His song ‘Better Off’ was number one on the independent DRP music charts for two straight weeks, and his single, ’35’, was released to critical acclaim last year by Rock Nation. It’s been quite the ride for the Italian-American rapper who first became transfixed by the genre because of fellow American rappers Scott and Malone.
“I‘ve taken many losses during the past years that I’m now beginning to perceive as blessings because I believe perception is everything,” says Rioma. “Learning from mistakes through trial-and-error is key, and I’m well aware that it needed to happen to mold me into the artist and the man I am today.”