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.