Tag Archives: Bishop Nehru

Operation Doom Discography-2006-2017: The Good, The Meh, and The Almost Classic

Operation Doom Discography-2006-2017: The Good, The Meh, and The Almost Classic

by Dan-O

 

The Good:

JJ Doom- I knew this album wasn’t for me early in the listening experience. The production style doesn’t fit.  It is very post-Gorillaz (Damon Albarn guests along with Beth Gibbons from Portishead) in its cold robotic bass burbles. Jneiro Jarel is very good at his sound. You can play the wordless Viberian Sun pt. II and understand the value of talent on display. Doom more than matches it. The disjointed nature of the beats just puts him a little off. He knows the pocket of any soul sample better than he does this. All that being said he still rises to the occasion: he starts the last song (Wash Your Hands) with ” Ooh, she got a cool body, damn she got a cool body/What I’m a tell you what to do with your hands for?/Much less your dirty @$$ shoes on the dancefloor?” This is full on grouchy doom warning you about the dangers of drinking tap water and giving you odd takes on gender(“There they go feminizing men again/Then pretend they don’t know when we know it, xenoestrogen.” From GMO). If you enjoy Doom you should listen to it and you might like it more than I do if you are into a more slick alternative version of hip hop production.

The Meh:

NehruvianDoom-I was very excited to hear this collaboration. I am a fan of Nehru and would say he’s an underrated talent. Doom handles the production on all but one track so we are back in that soulful comfort zone. Bishop is a top notch rapper but his lack of theme gives the lyrics presented here a freestyle feel. To put it bluntly: he ain’t Doom. Any project that says DOOM and doesn’t feature enough verses from Doom isn’t great. This one isn’t great. The whole album is surprisingly sleepy and ultimately unimportant. While Jneiro Jarel has (what I would view as) talent oppositional to Doom’s Nehru and Doom make each other boring somehow.

The Almost Classic.

Every truly great rap artist with a reasonably sized career has an almost classic. Jay has Vol. 1, 2pac has his first album 2pacalypse Now, Pete Rock & CL Smooth have The Main Ingredient (the single best example of an almost classic). Definition: everything is right except something which is very wrong. You need to own Born Like This so you can hear J Dilla & Doom collaborate for two of the most gripping moments in the history of music. Gazzilliion Ear  & Lightworks are deadly serious as the master mad scientists push one another: the beat twists and Doom adjusts. It’s not just Dilla, Absolutely is the crackling warm minimal vinyl Madlib groove at its finest. Jake One gives the biggest and best of his boom bap on the one minute and thirty second Ballskin where Doom burns the whole world down with his bars. The guests give the best of themselves and honestly I think Impress Stahhr Tha Femcee(Still Dope) outdoes Ghostface, Raekwon, Slug and anyone else not named DOOM.

The problem is the horribly wrong minded skit Batty Boyz which is unflinchingly homophobic and I just realized that I have a strange British version of the album which follows Batty Boyz with a doubling down on homophobia and transphobia. A song called Costume Foolery which is cut out of the US retail version but tucks in right behind Batty Boyz on my version. It really reaffirms that the skit wasn’t a fluke and Doom has problems with this subject, making a terrible gay voice and clowning man purses. I am of two minds on this: I don’t want to support anyone who makes it harder for oppressed communities or discriminates against any community but I also adore free speech. I don’t really believe in shutting down inappropriate conversation (I am not listening to Nazi rock bands do not take me to extremes). Doom starts the song CELLZ with a reading of Charles Bukowski’s Born Like This poem which gives this album it’s title. I think it is valuable to hear Bukowski read this in the context of Doom. The poem is about the mutating “sourful deadliness” that comes from a lack of good in the world or as Bukowski puts it an “unresponsive god.” The sharp edges of Doom stab us from that very place. Doom is not a villain for fun he is a response to deep scarring we should explore with him in all its ugliness. I’m sure he wouldn’t blame me for letting that ugliness dock points from the overall experience.

 

Advertisements

Mixtape Review-The Nehruvian EP by Bishop Nehru

Mixtape Review-The Nehruvian EP by Bishop Nehru

by Dan-O

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:
http://www.djbooth.net/index/albums/review/2015-05-11-bishop-nehru-nehruvia-the-nehruvian-ep