When it was first announced last year, that hip hop intellectual and pioneering producer, DOOM, was to take new-kid-on-the-block, Bishop Nehru, under his metal-clad wing for a full-length project, fans and critics alike, prepared themselves for an album of the year contender. Having supported both DOOM and Wu-tang in 2013, as well as tearing up two beats borrowed from the former on his Nehruvia mixtape (‘Elder Blossoms’ and ‘Lemon Grass’), Nehru seemed all set to take the world by storm, and with DOOM in support, nobody was going to doubt him.
Unfortunately, the resulting collaboration has fallen short of expectation. Perhaps hopes were set too high; Nehru – who’s ability to experience ratio has, in the past, worked out very favourably for the teenage rapper – is still finding his voice; whilst DOOM’s last offering Key to the Kuffs (another joint effort, this time with Jneiro Jarel as JJ DOOM) received mixed reviews. Even without the anticipation though, NehruvianDOOM feels distinctly average, as if rushed to release before the hype died down.
It would be a lie to claim there are no positives to be found within the album. As a veteran producer, DOOM serves up potent, brass-based productions in the form of ‘Mean The Most’ and ‘Darkness (HBU)’, leaving Nehru to showcase his long-form flow, with verses that offer light relief from the increasingly aggressive output of his peers (see: Joey Bada$$). However, elsewhere the beats are lacklustre, with samples that seem unusually haphazard for DOOM. Nehru’s choruses, meanwhile, often feel lazy; the rhymes too simple to provide a satisfactory hook.
NehruvianDOOM certainly still have the potential to work well in the future, and one hardly-mind-blowing effort is certainly not going to kill either members’ career – both have far too much raw talent for that. But simply put, although not an outright terrible album, NehruvianDOOM has been weighed and found wanting.