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Calls to Action

Autism Raps!

April 23, 2013

Indeed, yesterday was not only for autism to speak, but to sing, to rap and to celebrate the many talents of young musicians with autism. Rio “Soulshocka" Wyles, a 21-year-old promising rapper who is on the autism spectrum, collaborated with the musical duo Timeflies and Adrienne Bailon from 3LW and the Cheetah Girls for a fun jam session at Converse Rubber Tracks studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Converse generously donated the studio time to Autism Speaks.

“We are excited to partner with Autism Speaks to provide a platform for creativity,” said Jim Calhoun, Converse Chief Executive Officer. “We proudly support an organization that advocates for the needs of individuals with autism and by opening the doors of Converse Rubber Tracks, we extend the creative spirit to budding musicians in that community.”

"You know this is the most amazing thing for Autism Speaks. It's literally autism speaking," Rio's mom spontaneously expressed herself while watching her son performing at the studio.

Cal & Rio Recording

Rio was in total command when he took the mic. He caught the beat and rhymed verse after verse with Timeflies' vocalist, Cal, providing encouraging support. Rio fully immersed himself in rapping, starting with a “Yaaaaaaaaay!” His voice was so passionate that it fully engaged everyone in the studio. When his mother asked whether he could do this, Rio answered with a confident smile – “Yes I can”.

“Rio was just so awesome!” This was a compliment from everyone that attended the jam session. Rio had a perfect sense of when and how to change his tone, putting indelible personality into each verse. There’s no doubt that he is such a gifted rapper.

Rio’s parents accompanied him during the  recording. They recalled how they helped him fulfill this dream in music. "Every time he gets the to a inspiration to rap, I have to jot it down and transcribe it," said Rio’s father. 

With Timeflies and Adrienne’s mentoring and support, Rio enjoyed a great time to express himself via music. And this is what the venue on Hope Street – Converse Rubber Tracks studio - stands for: a platform for artists to unleash their creative spirit. Everyone at the studio was truly happy to see Rio put his talent on display as he pursues his dream.

Timeflies, Rio & Adrienne

Also checkout Rio's story on