Cleveland rapper Torrio possesses a solid flow and a nimble, slightly sheepish voice that deftly bends around the beat. Too bad he often squanders his mojo by sticking so closely to the gangsta script, bragging about watching Scarface 52 times and talking up the size of his schlong. When it comes to wiener talk, dude, sometimes less is more.

But the real problem with Superstar is that Torrio doesn't spend enough time sharing his life experiences or establishing a unique identity for himself. The best song on the album is "Trick Up Ya Sleeve," a catchy tale, featuring Suave Goddi; in it, Torrio recalls getting ripped off by a drug dealer in high school. It's one of the few songs where Torrio stops recycling the requisite gangsta boasts and focuses on being himself and telling his story. Throughout Superstar, Torrio complains about not getting enough respect. But that's something he has to earn, and developing his own personality would be a good start.

More by Jason Bracelin


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