At 19 years old, Bishop Nehru is well on his way to becoming one of New York’s finest hip-hop artists, with a resume would put some hip-hop veterans to shame. He released his debut mixtape Nehruvia at just 16-years-old, which included production from DJ Premier, Madlib, MF DOOM and more, and as since recorded a full length album with MF DOOM as NehruvianDoom. It is no wonder that his debut solo album on Mass Appeal Records is to be executive-produced by the man himself, Nas.
While we wait for that LP, Nehru has dropped an 11 track mixtape, Magic 19. The mixtape doesn’t have any notable features on it, instead allowing Nehru’s own rapping and production talents to shine through – and shine, they do. While the majority of production has been handled himself, additional beats come from Tay $lay, Bilbo, and Ricky Reasonz and GRiMM Doza.
The first thing that comes to mind when listening to this album are the choruses; they feel somewhat unfinished and at times, admittedly feel like they detract from the immense quality of his verses. Although a small factor, it can make it more challenging to keep spinning after one listen. That said, you’re in for a real treat if you can look past the hooks – Nehru’s rapping skills absolutely stand up for themselves. The best tracks on the mixtape, Highs And Lows, Did I Find It and How It Goes (all produced by Nehru), come complete with more considered hooks, providing the full musical package.
Nehru takes the listener through different corners of his mind, from just wanting to act his age and have fun in He The Man; to being a serious hip-hop student in the lead single It’s Whateva; to a dope lyricist exploring the realms of his mind in $acred Vision.
You would never know Nehru was only 19, and he shows no sign of immaturity or a a lack of expansive vocabulary. He even samples Batman Begins in Did I Find It, which came out when he was eight. The cover of the mixtape is a play on the Matrix, which came out when he was two – I suppose some cultural references are totally timeless.
Overall, the mixtape is great. It is a solid showcase of what Nehru can do by himself; it’s important that he can stand on his own, and I think that this is what this mixtape is about. While it’s not without its flaws, just imagine what we’ll be blessed with a couple of years down the line.
More than just a rapper, the mixtape is also a display of what Nehru can offer from the production side. We all know Nehru can rap – he continues to prove it on everything he touches. While Magic 19 doesn’t push him to the limits, he’s already miles ahead of the competition.
Stream the mixtape below, and patiently wait his debut album on Mass Appeal Records coming later this year.