Eto and DJ Muggs is a match made in heaven on their new collaborative album, Hell’s Roof. Which sees the Rochester, New York emcee delivering cinematically gritty and grimey raw street tales over the just as cinematically raw and rigged production from the legendary and iconic producer of Cypress Hill and Soul Assassin’s. Appropriately released through Muggs very own Soul Assassins Records too.
You can tell from the very first track, Dominate, how dark and cinematically brilliant the album will be, while also bringing awareness to the rough upbringing that Eto had that molded him into the great emcee he’s. Not to mention the very great chemistry the emcee and producer have. As Eto provides that gritty and real raw emceeing over DJ Muggs dark and cinematically raw haunting organs on production to provide the perfect backdrop for the New Crack Era and Rochester rep to spit on how the ongoing crack epidemic started by former President Reagan are still ongoing in New York with still no end in sight. Eto like so many great emcees before him letting it be known how crack still kills, while also trying to bring awareness on how to one day hopefully stop it.
Dominate then very seamlessly segues into another standout track from the album with the very gritty and grimey lead single, Holy Wine. The very bass rumbling production with the added on haunting drums really bringing the spooky, yet raw lyrics from Eto truly to life that’s a true headbanger from beginning to end in a way only somebody like the Rochester native can. While the next track, Roses is the first one that really moves away from the very dark and cinematic sounds we hear throughout most of the album. As Muggs settles for a more piano-laden simple boom-bap sound that’s perfect for the first feature of the album, Roc Marciano, who gives a very stellar guest verse. While Eto himself is also able to adjust to give a pretty solid performance to show even though the more dark and cinematic sounds we are used to hearing him over, aren’t always necessary.
As, Hell’s Roof, starts to move back to the more meat and core of the album, Muggs goes back to the more cinematic and hauntingly dark backdrops. The very fast hardcore backed production of what’s easily one of the top two or three tracks on the album, Still Mobbin’ featuring really solid verses from Eto once again about the grimey and gritty tales of how the grind of the rap game is like how it was coming up in the crack game of the streets. While Griselda affiliate Flee Lord and Infamous Mobb member, Big Twins also provide standout guest verses. Flee Lord’s verse of, “Loyalty or Death, that’s the image on these clothes. Start the movement in the hood, then we finished on the road, salute. This Muggs beat got me spittin’ like it’s drug beef. Hug streets while you wrapped up in your lady love sheets (Pussy). My poetry is radiant like rays from the sun. It’ll make the crowd freeze without this wave of this gun (Brr). This rap shit is easy when you raised from the slums.” Really standing out on the track. While Eto’s also spits his own memorable verses on his opening 16’s of the second verse of the track with, “I hustled packs, filled the bag, that’s when crack was religion. Crack lord, niggas gotta ask for permission. We don’t get a piece of the pie, we get a pie a piece. I get a little sleep on the side, they decide to sleep. N***as better keep it in mind, I’m playin’ mine for keeps. Only took a weekend to grind, now I grind for weeks.”
Muggs and Eto both show they aren’t one trick ponies as the album shifts to its latter half. With Muggs providing a very slow bluesy jazz sample for the appropriately titled, The Blues. That’s a very surprisingly dope track where Eto spits emotional bars about how being a loser for so long when growing up poorly made him and so many others relate to the blues. The different phases from poor to rich and in between all still able to relate to that jazz when the blues spins. It’s when Eto and Muggs go to the marching band like backed production of the Mayhem Lauren featured, Last Supper, that provides what’s if not the best track on the album, easily a close second. The high energy the beat providing the perfect backdrop for Eto and Lauren’s very high energy verses on the track.
Reaching the last quarter of the album, Attics, is one of those completely odd tracks that you wonder why it was on the album at all. The only real blemish on an otherwise very solid album that’s probably one of the few things that just prevents, Hell’s Roof from being a classic album. As the last two tracks, Victory and What You Sayin are very solid tracks. Eto’s frequent collaborator, Willie the Kid providing one of the best verses on the album with his guest turn on, Victory that calls back to him being a second generation Soul Assassin (his cousin LA the Darkman was apart of the first Soul Assassin’s records. With, “I’m all pro, check the scoreboard, that’s all, bro (Yo). Puff cigars in Monaco, this ain’t a fly rap lyric. I really do it, fuck you n***as hatin’. Second generation Soul Assassin. Devil in a blue dress, I’m blastin’. Shootin’ up your fuckin’ Range Rover, n***as laughin’, I been havin’.” While, What You Sayin, with Eto rapping the very raw gritty and real lyrics about the dark poor city life he grew up and had to be strong to survive in, is the perfect track to close out such a cinematically dark, raw, rugged and brilliant album.