Published May 12, 2015Teenage angst has found sweet refuge within the bars and beats of plenty of the most gifted and promising new hip-hop artists of recent years, but few have tackled their coming-of-age stories as prudently and self-awarely as Mass Appeal rapper/producer Bishop Nehru. The 18-year-old has earned salutes from MF DOOM and Nas for irrefutable wordplay and multifaceted production. As a prelude to his upcoming debut album, which seats Nasir Jones in the executive producer role, Bishop Nehru has released Nehruvia: The Nehruvian EP, an eight-track offering whose purpose is to build anticipation for the rapper's full-length. Rather than continue to raise the barometer of expectancy however, the collection of loosies lacks the cohesiveness to further cement his budding reputation.
Nehru's moody, sample-based beats provide a landscape for intricate lyricism and angst-fuelled tales from the New York emcee. "User$" is a dark exploration of Nehru's adaption to fame and the mistrust that comes it, while "Breath (Prana $pirit)" yields profound depth from the rapper's pen-game, as he addresses death and reports on matters of the human spirit.
But he grapples with his own writing talents on "[justfriends]ZONE," as the cut's repetitive monotone hook drags badly by the end. It's Nehru's hook game that continues to act as his regular damper. Although his carefully constructed verses are satisfying, he misses the chance to take the EP's singles a step beyond sufficient. The teen talent comes closest on the appropriately named "MellowWithMe," which finds him at his most seasoned and versatile.
Nehruvia: The Nehruvian EP succeeds as a reminder of Bishop Nehru's ingenious production and superior lyrical competence, but falls flat as a cohesive project. This teaser of offhand cuts that failed to make it onto the upcoming album may tide diehards over for now, but others must wait to see if he delivers the full package on his full-length. (Mass Appeal)