Trapped somewhere in the middle of innovative and awkward, long-time rapper and producer Daniel Dumile (stage name MF DOOM) joins with young up and comer Bishop Nehru to introduce the self-titled album NehruvianDOOM. Take a wild guess on which of the duo accounts for the innovative side and which accounts for the awkward.
Daniel Dumile’s first full-length production album in ten years, NehruvianDOOM promises a lot of potential but doesn’t always deliver it. Dumile’s production is unquestionably the strongest element of the album but it wouldn’t be fair to write off Nehru’s contributions as weak. Barely 18, Markel Scott may not be brand new to this rapping game but it is evident that he is still developing.
The intro track doesn’t feature any vocals from NehruvianDOOM, instead it features a chaotic assembly of sounds and samples. My initial thoughts on “Intro” were that it sound like a beat made by Dr. Dre and Tyler the Creator. A weirdly accurate comparison, considering Bishop Nehru drew in his first crowd by posting music on Odd Future’s forum and MF DOOM’s production tactics are comparable to an East Coast Dr. Dre.
Dumile’s production style is characterized by eccentric, multi-layered beats that dominate each track. His beats are comprised of simple instruments playing modest notes but he layers the sounds to create a satisfyingly nostalgic feel to his production. Scott mimics the old school hip hop vibe but frequently sounds like something you’ve heard before. Unfortunately, that familiarity comes off as bland as opposed to comforting.
In “Disastrous” it is evident that Bishop Nehru means well but his flow feels choppy and forced. However, in other tracks like “Mean The Most”, Bishop Nehru’s role feels very comfortable and appropriate. The toneless chorus is charming and charismatic as Nehru sings “To me you mean the most baby, you already know”. Immediately following this love ballad, Nehru tries to exploit the same tone deaf singing in “So Alone” but the execution is a lot less cute and a little painful. Yet in the succeeding track “Coming For You”, Nehru delivers an impressive rap performance over an MF DOOM instrumental sample. The beat looms intimidatingly as he passionately raps about his rapping passion and the whole ensemble works well. Throughout the album, listeners encounter this type of inconsistency with Bishop Nehru. One track will have strong contributions from Scott and the next song will include the same elements that made the previous song enjoyable and yet still ends up mediocre.
Fortunately for listeners, great things are worth the wait; the penultimate track “Great Things” is the strongest song on the album in just about every way. Solid lyrics, impeccable flow, exciting beat, plus Scott and Dumile are on par with each other in their verses instead of one outshining the other. All the details that the less prominent tracks lacked are fully developed in this one, providing a probable cause to keep an eye on young Markel Scott.
The overall theme of NehruvianDOOM is incredibly insightful as it focuses on the concepts of the third eye and meditation. Several tracks include trippy vocal samples of different philosophers commenting on topics from meditation to perseverance. The track “Om” opens with a man instructing listeners to practice their “Om” while “Mean the Most” ends with an Indian man going on a confusing rant about bumblebees and humility. There are several other random excerpts that are difficult to decipher; allegories seems to be NehruvianDOOM’s favorite literary device. For MF DOOM fans, NehruvianDOOM contains admirable production value and for those that would like follow a good story; don’t sleep on Bishop Nehru.