Bishop Nehru – ‘Elevators Act: I & II’ Review

Score

Nehru's attempt at 'a rap Pet Sounds' is a wild ride indeed

Things are looking up for Bishop Nehru. Quite literally – his debut solo album is the aptly titled ‘Elevators: Act I & II’, and the final song, ‘Rooftops’, sees the New York rapper boast: “I’m tryna shoot for the sky like it’s rooftops / I know that they could see the rise like new stocks / So I’m headed for the rooftops.” Nehru is going places.

For the uninitiated, consider this Nehru’s proper pitch to become one of the most important names in hip-hop. The 21-year-old has been prolific in his career thus far – first popping up on the scene in 2012 with debut collection ‘Nehruvian’ and following that up with a sizeable project each year since. His most recognised arrived in 2014 in the shape of ‘NehruvianDoom’, a collaborative album with masked rap legend MF DOOM – and to our delight, he’s back to lend his deft production hand on this album.

Split into two halves – with shit-hot Canadian producer Kaytranada helming the first and MF DOOM the latter – Nehru’s album could have been at risk pulling in two different directions, but there’s nothing of the sort here. His creativity and vision ensures that both part ‘I & II’ are as vital as each other. MF Doom’s deft hand on the second half is a smorgasbord of samples, whereas the futuristic first is chockablock with dreamy synth lines that’ll have you freewheeling in Blade Runner’s vision of our dystopian future.

But neither of his noteworthy producers can overshadow the lyrical dexterity and brash confidence of Nehru. Take ‘The Game of Life’, where he opens with what seems like a ancient nursery rhyme (“There was a man he was often alone/Lost in his own thoughts caught in frivolous zone/Feelin’ there’s no home to go where he’ll fit, and he’ll glow/So he stayed to himself as he said it in his stone“) – before effortlessly dropping in basketball references to ’90s Chicago Bulls legends Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Old-school references meeting a very modern mind.

If you’re looking for a hip-hop act that is willing to pay his dues, but move into fresh new territory, this coherent 31-minute head-spinner will do the trick. Nehru’s followed through with his prophecy to rise to the top; it’s only a matter of time before the world catches on.

Details

Release Date: March 16, 2018