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.