Artists from the underground Hip-Hop genre have given us many great and memorable mixtapes. But since the mixtape is free, fans ignore and forgive any shortcomings these releases may have. An Album on the other hand, is supposed to be different; it is supposed to be “professional”, it is supposed to have a coherent concept, at the very least it’s supposed to have a level of continuity from start to finish. Bishop Nehru and MF Doom’s Album “NehruvianDOOM” is sadly neither, and for a Rapper who has shown great promise in the past, this isn’t exactly a great start.
NehruvianDOOM begins with the opening track “First Day Of Class” which is composed of a collage of varied elements, ranging from music, non-linguistic singing, to a sample from the film Aliens. At 1 minute 48 seconds however, this introduction seems overly long and slightly unconnected, and unfortunately this becomes a trend of the entire Album. “Om” then follows the lyric-free opener, but with its own 30 second intro, the start of NehruvianDOOM takes too long to get going. With MF Doom on the chorus of “Om”, and Nehru giving us his standard Golden-Era-throwback delivery, the song is pretty decent. But just as you get into it, another skit follows (this time concerning the pineal gland) and breaks up the flow.
Then comes two very strange and almost unpleasant songs; “Mean The Most” and “So Alone”. Both tracks contain ‘singing-badly-on-purpose’ choruses, the pair of them coming across as some kind of Easy-Listening-Hip-Hop. The Jazzy elements of “Mean The Most” are fine, but the chorus “You already kno-o-ow, that to me you mean the most. Baby-y-y” is teetering on horrible. Then there’s another almost 2 minute long skit before “So Alone” kicks in. “So Alone” is again a slow and mellow offering, which starts with promise but veers off into another poor chorus with Bishop exclaiming “I’m so so alone, I’m so so alone”. These songs would have been better left off the Album, but if they had I guess we’d have a 7 track release instead of 9. So regrettably they’re still there.
“Darkness” with its staccato snare drum and mariachi-like horns sounds a bit better, but again Bishop’s lyrics feel a bit too lax especially during the “How about you?” chorus. Then once again, at the close of this song we are confronted with another 40-something-second skit. The next track “Coming For You” is also pretty acceptable (both in terms of lyrics and production) and the song itself seems stylistically matched with the first track “Om”. But with the chorus sounding like something from The Mighty Boosh coupled with its short length, “Coming For You” gives the listener a hint of triviality and amateurishness.
“Caskets” then brings us more laid-back Jazz-Hop production, this time with better lyrics, but somehow the song feels like a mixtape freestyle rather than an Album track. Then surprise, surprise we have yet another 1:50-ish skit which fucks things up once more. The next joint “Great Things” though listen-able, has another poor chorus, and this is followed by the final track “Disastrous”. These final songs both feature 1970’s-sounding production and feel somehow unconnected from the majority of the Album. The final pair of songs, though not completely dire, are not that great either. And with a fade out of the last track at the 2:15 mark (which then leads to another skit-cum-outro) the Album is way too short, and contains way too little material.
A nine track album can’t have this many interruptions. Numerous skits may work on Albums containing 20-plus tracks (such as Jedi Mind Tricks’ “Violent By Design”) but on an Album this short it feels like the filler is taking over the CD. Some of the skits feel like they weren’t even intended to be on this Album; the Aliens sample for example is there just because there was a character called ‘Bishop’. NehruvianDOOM basically feels like an EP, and with MF Doom featuring on multiple tracks; it doesn’t even feel like you’ve heard enough of Bishop Nehru considering it’s also his release.
The album and Bishop Nehru himself are a throwback to Hip-Hop‘s Golden Era, akin to something from 1993 to 1996. But had this album been released back then, it wouldn’t be considered anything special. Fans would agree with Nehru’s sentiments on the track “Great Things”, with Bishop rapping “I’m a do great things”. Unfortunately “NehruvianDOOM” isn’t the great thing we all expected. Hopefully Nehru can regroup, maybe link up with Que Hampton again and bring us something which is truly worthy of his talent.
It’s Not All Doom And Gloom.