Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.


Souls of a Silent City (Rival)

After three tracks and nearly three minutes of what amounts to little more than "intro" material, the Lorain-based rap quintet S.O.S.C. finally delivers its opening song. But first, we have to sit through a commercial (cut one is actually called that) and several skits before "Livin' for Today" shows up -- not the best way to kick off your self-titled debut. And that's the main flaw with this skilled record: It's filled with so much flotsam that it's a tough task to wade through it all to get to what really matters. Once the peripherals are omitted, the album's core is a little more focused. Still, Souls of a Silent City is a disjointed listen, moving from one street style to another with little thematic purpose.

The sound itself alternates between cut-rate RZA production and an undistinguished beat machine. But the five voices cut through strong enough -- most of the time, at least -- that the monotony of the grooves disappears into the background. There's nice interplay among the five guys (Mr. Ruff, Smok Blak, Blak Boy, Slept-On, and Big Junn), even if they're not always easily separable. But the usual odes to sex and weed (one is even not-so-imaginatively titled "Mary Jane") are as dull as they are conventional. S.O.S.C. pays tribute to its hometown throughout Souls of a Silent City, and while its declarations that Lorain is a hip-hop hotbed are at times dubious, we applaud the loyalty. There are several keepers here -- "Livin' for Today," "It's My Time," "Come Now," "S.O.S.C.," "Back It Up," and "Grimmy N****s" -- that would make a fine EP. But the pointless interludes need to go.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Jokes on You @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Last Sunday of every month
  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays
  • Louis C.K. @ Agora Theatre

    • Thu., Dec. 2

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation