From: NY, United States
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap
CEO of New York based Specialyst Entertainment and co-founder of Carol City Cartel.Torch represents one fourth of the rap group Triple C with Def Jam/ Maybach Music’s Rick Ross, Gun Play and Young Breed. He oozes drive, determination,all fitting into a plan to be recognized as one of the best.
Kevin Christopher Belnavis (born July 12, 1982), better known by his stage name Torch, is an American rapper signed to the Maybach Music Group record label. He grew up in the Castle Hill area of the Bronx before moving to Florida as a teen. While living in Miami, he met William Leonard Roberts II who would come to be better known as Rick Ross, a Miami rapper called Gunplay and rapper Young Breed. Together, the four would go on to form the southern rap group Triple C’s (aka Carol City Cartel).
Torch was born Kevin Christopher Belnavis to his parents Lorna and Christopher Belnavis on July 12, 1982 in the Castle Hill area of the Bronx in New York. Born into a rough neighborhood, as a child Torch saw little in his future besides a life in the streets. It was even there, on the streets of his drug and crime-riddled neighborhood that Torch received his nickname from some of the older men he looked up to and who he saw himself one day becoming.
Though skilled with words and wit, without much in the way of role models to look up to, Torch struggled academically. As a teen, he was expelled from three high schools before finding an advocate in the principal at the fourth. At Lehman High School, the school principal helped Torch catch up in his classes and makeup months of neglected work to graduate on time with his class. It was also in high school that Torch me Kenta “Geter K” Geter, future VP of Maybach Music Group.
However, fearful of the dangerous and seemingly predictable path her son was on, Torch’s mother sent him to Florida to live with his older sister. While living in Miami, Torch met his future Triple C’s group members: Rick Ross, Gunplay and Young Breed.
Despite his mother’s best efforts, trouble was never far behind and upon his return to the northeast in 2005, Torch served a brief sentence in a New York state prison on drug charges. Shortly upon his release, Rick Ross shot to fame with his platinum single “Hustlin’” which was Torch’s first indication that his life could be something bigger than a stereotype played out on the streets.
Newly out of prison, Torch joined Rick Ross, Gunplay and Young Breed to form rap group Triple C’s. The group was featured on Ross’s certified gold albums, Port of Miami (2006) and Trilla (2008) and their own first studio album, Custom Cars and Cycles was released in 2009.
In 2008, Torch debuted as a solo act with his first mixtape Ski Mask Music (Hosted by Big Mike). It was clear from the EP’s reception that Torch had set himself apart with meaningful and relatable content that was not over-stylized or riding any tired trends. In his follow-up, Krash Kourse (Hosted by Dj Kayslay & Dj Khaled), Torch let the streets know he was gearing up for his takeover. Krash Kourse featured strong beats and lyrics that have come to be expected from the artist as well its biggest single “Bang Yo City” featuring Busta Rhymes. It was with U.F.O. (Underestimated, Forgotten, Overlooked) Volume 1 (released in 2011) and Volume 2 (released February 2012) that Torch truly hit his stride and established his presence as more than a king of the underground. With U.F.O., Torch broke away from the shadow of his former group Triple C’s and former group-mate Rick Ross. Without leaving them behind (in Volume 1 Ross appears on the track “Reala State” and Triple C’s on “Egg Hunt”), Torch proved he could more than lyrically hold his own. Providing smooth tracks for the ladies as well as spiritual and street beats, these projects demonstrated his versatility and multi-dimensionality as an artist.
Overall, Torch is a versatile rapper with emotionally-charged lyrics. He describes his music as out-of-the-box, unpredictable and relatable. He names his inspirations as Biggie Smalls and Tupac, not for their stereotypical status as rap idols, but because their lyrics encourage him to provide a better future for his young son. While others in the industry focus on creating an image catering to stereotypes which have proven successful, Torch refuses to typecast his music by creating songs for everyone who can appreciate reflective lyrics and an original flow. Dubbed, “what hip hop’s been missing” by legendary producer and music executive LA Reid, Torch is well on his way to becoming Maybach Music’s next biggest star and one of the industry’s most original leaders.