Eito: While You Were Sleeping (Self Released)

Eclectic, genre blurring hip-hop from Pennsylvanian MC

Released Jul 7th, 2020 / By Clementine Lloyd
Eito: While You Were Sleeping (Self Released) The name Eito has many references. It means ‘prosperous person’ in Japanese. It can also mean stretch and furrow in Western etymology. Furrow as in ‘made with the slash of a scythe’. Which is a pretty good meaning as well to be honest!

Eito has the ability to make furrows with the music he makes and the lyrics he spits. He is one of the definitive ‘thinking man's hip-hop’ artists, deftly weaving various hip-hop avenues with experimental electro-synth sounds, soulful samples and stellar production values. Also, he in not shy of a baseline that will make ears bleed. Or, make you shit yourself, for that matter.

This is Eito’s first EP release, though he has released on LP. 2017 saw the debut self-titled record, and a record featuring five mixes of a track from this record—Diamonds. Which to be fair is a fucking addictive tune. This second one highlights his standing as a musician’s musician, a thinking musician’s musician. Why else would you release the instrumental versions publicly, if not to encourage sampling?

Opening track Prelude to a Dream is interesting one. Found audio sits above electro-synth satellite sounds, laminating a slick and steady minimalist beat. The conversation in the audio is reminiscent of an After school Special from the fifties. It becomes both wry in its observation and earnest in delivery. Only when the final words are expelled, you hear the meaning of it all. “Sounds as if you’re learning to keep your emotions in balance”.

And isn’t this what we are all looking for at the moment? Isn’t this what we have always looked for?

By the time the second track rolls around, it is clear that Eito’s claim on the six track EP is in the disparate elements he draws into the narrative. Spanning genres with mixed-media, found audio, and a little glint in his eye.

Untitled is fuelled by pure early hip-hop roots, with “There’s no club bangers on the tape” speaking to the chart ‘hip-hop’ that has been popularized of late. It’s all sexy vibes and glitched out sampling, show me to the hot-tub! As the misogynist lyrics can be hard listening, but could be a clever contrast to the backing track. Lyrics like “infatuated by nerdy bitches” serve to reinforce this, and hints at his own nerdy side.

References to Anime like “I fucked a bitch in this cosplay” in Go Crazy, and “Dragonball” and “Goku” May The 4th link him to Japan all the more. To be fair, this track is thick with references. May the 4th being more nerdy Star Wars fun. Even deeper, though is the reference to the Fourth Amendment on the Bill of Rights. This centers on searches, seizures and even warrants - and the rights of individuals within that. Super topical right now, and adds intellectual layers to the chilled out deep-house elements and laid back beat. Lyrics “May the fourth be with you as karma alive” hits back at the people who held him back in the past.

Circling back to Go Crazy—because it is fucking epic—Eito creates an energetic quality to it but spreads his words like butter. The toast being a multi-grain slice of ‘boombap’ hip-hop, experimental synth, electronica and dubstep. Strung out chords fly over lyrics “spaceship’s feelin’ wavy, definition of crazy.” Hats and snares keep the hip-hop flow, before plunging into a second half that wouldn’t be out of place on a trap record.

Exiting the record with Cruisin and The World feeds into what are clearly musical roots. With Cruisin Eito tips his cap to Eazy-E and NWA here, switching out lyrics to “Cruisin’ down the street and I’m 6’5”, from the well known lyric “Cruisin’ down the street in my S4”. This is pure 90’s hip hop, with a modern twist, whilst The World is a more R&B and soul filled desert. Full of thoughtful attention and space. The generous intro showcases the silky elements of his vocal. Bringing in the bassline adds a backbone to the airy aura, connecting beautifully to the spine running through the record. Lyrics “If its too much bass let the treble in” make it sound as if we are in the mixing studio with him. Bringing guitar riffs in at the end is a nice touch—the reverb adds meat to the strings as they vie with the bass. It has a duality, feeling at one with the pacing but also standing out against the hip-hop backdrop. So perfectly summing up what Eito does.

To sum up: you need this record in your life. What little summer we have left deserves this kind of mischievous shape-shifting, and a little retro love. What Eito does is bring in all his loves into a free-flowing but on-point record that makes you want to hit play again as soon as you are done.

Fair warning though, if about to: before you take to the search engines know that Eito is also a new J-pop star. One who has recently been making waves on the scene. Luckily they are very different styles, so shouldn’t cause too much of a problem. Beware when booking tickets though! Both good, but their shows are likely to be vastly disparate! This one is definitely in the “I came to spit lyrics and be called ‘motherfucker’” camp. Happy listening. 8/10