Bishop Nehru (Markel Scott) is a New York native who burst onto the hip-hop scene in 2013 at the tender age of 16 with his first mixtape ‘Nehruvia’.
With his debut mixtape being widely well received within the hip-hop community, Bishop Nehru gained plaudits from legends. Fellow New Yorker Nas signed him to his relatively new record label Mass Appeal Records, and also the extremely elusive legend of underground Hip-Hop MF DOOM seemed to take Bishop Nehru under his wing, with the pair teaming up for a collaborative project titled ‘NehruvianDOOM’ in 2014.
In 2018 – as an independent artist and free of label constraints, Bishop Nehru has finally released his debut solo album ‘Elevators (Act I and II)’. The first act of the album ‘Ascension’ is produced entirely by the man of the moment Kaytranada, whilst the second act ‘Free Falling’ is produced entirely by the man in the mask – MF DOOM.
After a short introduction to the first act, the album’s first song of the LP ‘Driftin’’ sets a quite relaxed pace to Kaytranada’s segment of the project with slow bass and flute samples, while Bishop Nehru muses with a stream of consciousness that drifts from topic to topic. ‘Driftin’’ is followed by ‘No Idea’, another track with strong production that Nehru does justice by patterning it with raps about haters and being strong willed in the face of adversity.
With the lyrics showcased in ‘No Idea’ Bishop Nehru begins to show the maturity beyond his 21 years that attracted so much attention to his music at a young age. This maturity is also carried over to the following track ‘The Game of Life’ (arguably the best track of ‘Act I: Ascension’).
Unfortunately the momentum gained from the aforementioned tracks on ‘Elevators (Act I and II)’ is lost on ‘Get Away’. Although the beat is energetic and uplifting, some of the lyrical choices on the track feel lazy and ultimately the track stands out as easily one of the weakest of the first act.
‘Up, Up & Away’; the second single released from the album and final track of Act I, is a light and soulful song with excellent drum loops and a sultry feature (by the only featured artist on the project) LION BABE. Of all the songs on the first act; this is truly where any kind of ‘Ascension’ is felt the most.
‘I’m living royal but all of these haters be wanting to rumble.
Hoping I stumble, wanting this empire to crumble.
I can’t fumble.’
Bishop Nehru – Up, Up & Away (Feat. LION BABE)
MF DOOM’s half of the LP ‘ACT II: Free Falling’ takes a slightly more jazz influenced tone than the previous half with ‘Taserz’, ‘Again & Again’; and first single from the album, ‘Rooftops’ all having Jazz infused beats.
‘Rooftops’ is worthy of being the first single released from the album, as the inspired saxaphones and smoothest flows on the album close out the album on a high.
Overall, whilst this is probably the most well rounded project Bishop Nehru has released, there is still room for improvement from the young rapper. In places you can’t help but feel lyrically he is capable of better – maybe a curse of setting the standards high with a debut mixtape. Regardless, ‘Elevators (Act I and II)’ is a strong project that Bishop Nehru can stand behind and be proud of, highlighting his potential as he grows as an artist, and he remains an exciting prospect to watch for future bodies of work.
‘Elevators (Act I and II)’ is out now via Nehruvia. The full track listing is…