DOOM is back, dropping the MF and forming a new co-operative name with the lesser known Bishop Nehru. The pairing is strange, but after Nehru’s use of DOOM’s beats and their previous meetings, not entirely leftfield. With the current trend of youthful rap up-and-comers such as Joey Bada$$ and Earl Sweatshirt achieving success it’s not surprising to see another contender appear on the scene, but does having DOOM on his side give him a great advantage?
Unfortunately, DOOM’s production and (very few) appearances on the album actually emphasise Nehru’s unoriginality and lack of growth. Rather than sounding like a revivalist and an individual voice among the saturated hip-hop industry, Bishop just sounds like his influences. Rather than taking the best qualities of his contemporaries he is merely imitating them. There is vast room for improvement but admittedly room that Nehru can conceivably fill. For such a short album, the rapping begins to grow tiresome as the style and substance offer very little, and ultimately these problems are somewhat present on DOOM’s end too.
While the production is competent, DOOM’s current laziness manifests itself again as most of the beats on the album are taken from his Special Herb Series and often feel slightly tame compared to previous efforts. Those who know DOOM may have noticed a vague theme to his albums punctuated by the choice of samples and this time around samples focus on self-help and meditation. These samples feel weak however, and offer little enjoyment as opposed to previously witty skits such as ‘America’s Most Blunted’. The usual soul-jazz style is as fun as ever but it hits much less harder than Madlib’s earlier release this year: Piñata.
And so, while it may be unfair to criticise the growing Bishop Nehru for a lack of clear style it still brings out the question of why DOOM chose to collaborate with him. For such a seasoned veteran, there was a lot of expectation riding on this album, as there always is with a new DOOM album, but perhaps his time on top has passed. Nehru however is at the other end of this spectrum and his time may be just on the horizon.