Eto – “Dead Poets” review

Eto is an MC from Rochester, New York who I first caught wind of him in 2018 with his feature at the end of the 6th installment of Westside Gunn’s infamous HWH mixtape series & eventually his DJ Muggs-produced full-length debut Hell’s Roof a few months later. This was followed up with Long Story Short as well as & Front Row & The Beauty of It, but is enlisting Toronto’s very own Futurewave behind the boards to make Dead Poets his first solo effort in 2 & a half years.

The titular intro sets things off with a bare piano instrumental talking about people trying to leave them in the dark & still shining regardless whereas “Vintage” works some raw kicks & snares declaring that he’s still living like the king he truly is to this day. “Bullets & Pills” was a good choice for a lead single keeping things in boom bap turf talking about having to clean up shop if one got the bills prior to Daniel Son tagging along for the gritty follow-up “Make It Out” as they both vividly describe being fortunate enough to get out of tough situations alive & well.

Moving on from there with “Poetry is Dead”, we have Eto over lavish piano chords pointing out the fact that those cut from the same cloth as him won’t live if the grind stops leading into “Cut the Robbin” returning to the boom bap declaring shop to be open for business nor to forget the unforgiven. The solemn titular interlude prioritizes self discipline & addressing that he hasn’t taken any losses or even wins yet just before G4 Jag comes into the picture for the jazzy “Did You Hear?” answering the question if either of them heard what others have said.

“My Poetry Deep” talks about how rare it is to see a costless person fall after learning that scared money gets it all over a boom bap instrumental with some harmonious background vocals while the song “City Broken” with Warlord Ironsheik has a more morbid approach sonically as both MCs advise not to slip & that slowly is the fastest way to get to where you wanna be in life. The penultimate track “Black Star” is a symphonic boom bap hybrid speaking on what those who die good men will receive & “Don’t Listen” ends things with Tearz handling the verses calling himself Van Gogh with a hoodie & Timbs on top of a tranquil beat.

From the moment Dead Poets was announced over the summer, I knew it was bound to be a great comeback from Eto after nearly 3 years of dropping a solo effort & I’m more than satisfied with the outcome of it. Although I respectfully wasn’t too crazy about the features during the back end of the album, Futurewave’s production is incredibly consistent & Swayze himself sounds rejuvenated on the mic.

Score: 4/5

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Nyce da Future – “Forever Mobbin’ review”

Nyce da Future is an MC from Queens, New York who came to my attention last spring with his Havoc-produced debut EP Future of the Streets that was pretty well received. But for his full-length debut over here, he’s enlisting Rochester’s very own Eto to produce the whole thing from top to bottom.

The titular intro is a piano-laced opener letting the world know that this is brotherly whereas “Head Shots” takes a solemn turn getting into boss mode. Reek da Villain tags along for the symphonic boom bap banger “Drillin’” to give off some murderous intentions just before the deranged “Close Range” to spit that gun talk.

Flee Lord comes into the picture for ”On God” to tug the heart strings from the subject matter to the sample-based instrumental leading into the dreary title track getting back on his gangsta shit. “Good Morning” returns to a sample-heavy sound talking about feeling blessed, but then the Big Twins-assisted “Fit for the War” perfectly lives up to it’s name from the combative bars to the cinematic beat.

Meanwhile on “Me”, we have Rob Gates joining Nyce to switch it up into trap territory talking about it doing it because of themselves while “It Ain’t Fair” marks a return to the boom bap declaring himself the hottest in Queens right now. After the “Reno Speaks” interlude, the song “Hoody Season” with Reno provides a gloomy anthem for the fall down to the dejecting instrumental while the penultimate track “Motivated” is a rich ode to his dedication. Reno returns again for the closer “Criminal Minded” for a grisly boom bap ode to the thugs.

If you enjoyed Future of the Streets as much as I did, then I highly recommend givin’ Forever Mobbin’ a listen because this is a very impressive full-length debut in my personal opinion. Couple of the features were lackluster, but it’s crazy to hear how much Eto’s production game has progressed within the last couple years & Nyce sounds just as hungry as he did 14 months prior.

Score: 4/5

Eto – “The Beauty of It” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Rochester emcee Eto. I first caught wind of him in 2018 with his feature on Westside Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes VI mixtape, but his DJ Muggs-produced debut Hell’s Roof that dropped a few months later would catch my full attention. This was followed up with Long Story Short & Front Row later that same year but for The Beauty of It, he’s decided to switch it up by bringing a handful of well-known producers into the fold.

The album begins with the title track, where Eto delivers a short yet raw verse over a haunting instrumental. The next song “No” with Grafh sees the 2 getting ferocious over a boom bap beat from a piano loop while the track “Nothin’ Like You” a luscious instrumental. “The Pot” gets on the mob boss tip over a dark Alchemist instrumental & after the short yet vicious “Guilty” interlude produced by Daringer, the song “Rusty Stainless” with Rome Streetz sees the 2 showing off their sharp lyricism over an chilling Statik Selektah beat.

The track “Growing Pains” talks about feeling like shit over a gloomy boom bap beat while the song “Beloved” displays his storytelling abilities over a spooky Marco Polo instrumental. The track “Metal Lords” with the Heavy Metal Kings finds the 3 talking about how they’re taking over the game over a cinematic beat & after the flute-heavy “Innocence” interlude, the song “Lawless” with $ha Hef sees the 2 talking about how people are just that over a hypnotic vocal sample.

The track “Anybody” talks about death over a forlorn piano-loop whereas “No Reply” seems awkwardly out of place & I say that because Jai Black is taking up a good bulk of the song with very little Eto presence whatsoever. The track “Pissin’ in Bottles” talks about partying over a slow instrumental from DJ Green Lantern & then after the short yet emotional “Purpose” interlude, “Back to the BBQ” is an odd way of closing out the album especially since Eto is once again barely on it. However, Large Professor does show that he can still cook up some grimy beats in 2020.

I personally think Hell’s Roof is his magnum opus but if you wanna get into the guy, The Beauty of It really isn’t a bad place to start either. Some of the features were weak but outside of that, the production choices are mostly top notch & Eto’s manages to come through with some of his most personal material yet.

Score: 3.5/5