Mixtape Review-The Nehruvian EP by Bishop Nehru
The basis for releasing this collection of music is that Nehru is working on a new album and this set of nine songs were “too sonically raw” to work on the album. It’s a great strategy since your biggest and best songs should always be the ones you are trying to make money off of. It also means Bishop is thinking about the track chemistry on his album which is a great sign.
He’s also dead right; these songs are raw(in a good way), not just in terms of formal minimalism but emotional content. Bishop produced the whole project which makes the well placed creepy sample on Somebody Waits pretty cool. He spits at a sprinters pace on Somebody Waits seeming very comfortable over the stark Wu-ish beat. In terms of raw content User$ is hard to peal yourself away from. The first line sums up the feeling of the song, “Melancholy days got me held in a spotty phase” User$ is an anthem for silently fought personal anxiety and paranoid distrust. It doesn’t have the typical hip hop humblebrag quality to its confessional tone, which probably has a lot to do with how Nehru carries himself.
He’s super comfortable going in or digging into his own thoughts or just cooling out. One of the very best tracks on The Nehruvian EP is MellowWithMe because it lets the air out of tension created by the anxiety of User$ or the sinister and vengeful MansSin(great guest verse by Que Hampton); after all that MellowWithMe starts with a beautifully relaxing soulful chorus that’s as close as a song can get to a shoulder massage.
All through The Nehruvian is the understanding that all of this is happening because Bishop loves rap. Loves every weird sample he can find, every ear changing drum pattern, every possible bar in the wordscape. When I saw Talib Kweli live he played for two hours without big guests or fireworks, just a dude in a leather jacket who LOVED rapping and the audience felt like words would never fail him, his drive to find and experiment with them would never fail. That’s what I love most about The Nehruvian EP, it carries that spirit, that joy and meticulous willingness to find more and weirder space to expand in.
Even the songs that seem familiar are positively so. Pharcyde fans will love (justfriends)ZONE since it tackles that same jaunty but mournful romantic letdown territory they did SO WELL. It’s all so comfortably low key, not even mid tempo but a slow methodical why-worry-about-pace pace but that’s a choice, Nehru has the ability to shift up and take over (see: Harmony In A Glass). The nerd references creep up on you in a pleasant way: Silver Surfer over here, Blanka from Street Fighter over there. Over nine tracks he has one guest and one outside producer (Beatty Crocker) and the rest is all him. I can’t think of a way to get better familiarized with an artist. This is the first Bishop Nehru I’ve ever listened too and not only do I want more but I feel more than prepared for the new stuff I discover on my road to getting to know him better.
download or stream The Nehruvian EP below: