We gave it a C-
What a shame Gerardo’s debut record, Mo’ Ritmo, doesn’t come with its own full length video accompaniment. The Ecuadoran-born rapper’s true talent is contained in his racy ”Rico Suave” clip, which has inspired enough squeals and drools to make it an instant hit on video outlets around the country. No surprise there. By focusing eagerly on Gerardo’s well-defined torso, studly mug, and toned rump, it comes closer than any music video yet to a night at Chippendale’s. You’ll find nothing quite so arousing on Gerardo’s audio debut. As a rapper, he’s closer to a novelty act like Vanilla Ice than to an authentic talent like Ice-T. His heavy use of Latin rhythms and melodies may give the music a twist, but Spanglish rap is delivered with more finesse by Mellow Man Ace and Kid Frost. Gerardo’s music is more pop and thus more accessible than that of his predecessors, but his continuous boasting about how great it is to be a cad begins to grate after a while. ”Who’s gonna be my first,” he raps. ”Will it be another blonde, redhead, or brunette/Yo! What did I have last week/I tend to forget.” Ultimately, his ”Rico Suave” hit sounds like Steve Martin doing a ”wild and crazy” parody of macho. But if Gerardo is obnoxious, at least you can’t say he didn’t warn you. ”Don’t let my lyrics mislead you/I don’t love you but I need you,” he raps, later adding, ”I’m two hours late/I never said I was a prompt date.” Then again, Gerardo also has his serious side. He makes a big point of telling us not to judge him solely by his good looks: We should also judge him by how good he is at dumping women. Oh, well. At least he never asks us to judge him on his musical talent.