Bishop Nehru – strictlyFLOWZ (Mixtape Review) DX Consensus: “EP Worthy”
What do you get when you combine Tupac’s character Bishop from the 1991 cult classic Juice with Jawaharlal Nehru, former prime minister of India? Try the inspiration for the identity of up-and-coming artist Bishop Nehru. Last year, at just 15 years young, the New Yorker dropped his first mixtape, Nehruvia. He parlayed his early success into notable accolades, such as a “Youth Rap Talent Of The Week” crowning at WorldStarHipHop.com and a spot on the “Who’s Next” section of Hot97.com. Now, Bishop is watching his career come into fruition, just as he releases his newest mixtape, strictlyFLOWZ.
At 29 minutes, strictlyFLOWZ is rather short. It contains 10 tracks, two of which are skits. But while the song content is minimal, it doesn’t let down. Each track contains a similar feel in the realm of production, helping to achieve a smooth track-flow for the mixtape as a whole. Bishop’s identity as an emcee traces its inspiration from a wide variety of emcees and styles. The track “introVERTZ” for instance, has a feel similar to a 1990s Geto Boys record, but Bishop also experiments with voice alteration (“Start”; “Mob Dizzle”) which makes for a Quasimoto feel at times. These two aspects help enable for a predominantly dark, Trip Hop theme throughout.
While the short length of the mixtape may be frustrating for some, Bishop Nehru’s attention to detail shows on each track. Cohesion among the beats greatly helps strictlyFLOWZ’s replay value, and Bishop’s lyrics are bound to bring listeners back for a second listen. The highlight of the mixtape comes on his track “Mob Dizzle” which is accompanied by a music video released recently as well. Smoothly riding a dark beat reminiscent of the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Bells of War,” Bishop declares, “What goes around comes back / And it hits you even harder / Don’t bother talkin’ revolver / That ain’t the solver.” It is easy to root for Bishop not only because his lyrics are above-average for a 16-year-old, but his promoting non-violence without sacrificing his coolness or swagger makes him even more endearing. What’s more, lyrics like these set an important precedent of sorts for Hip Hop’s youth, as debates on gun control are more popular than ever.
As stated before, the only drawback to strictlyFLOWZ is it’s length, or lack thereof. The half-hour run time is short, but ultimately justified for a free project. Fans of substance will likely forgive Bishop Nehru for the brevity; the album is unique in every aspect. But with only eight true tracks, the album classification treads the line between EP and mixtape. If length is the only thing to nitpick about strictlyFLOWZ though, then that is a very good sign for a 16-year-old’s sophomore release.
Overall, Bishop Nehru does not disappoint. strictlyFLOWZ is a cohesive, polished mixtape that showcases stellar production and ample lyricism. He has an extremely bright future ahead of him, evidenced in both the mixtape as a whole, as well as his prospects for longevity in the Rap game given his age. And getting Hot97’s Peter Rosenberg to supply a fake voicemail on the final track, “END” is the comical icing on the cake.
With this release, Bishop Nehru has taken another step in his young career as a professional emcee. The groundwork has been laid, and it’s up to him now to capitalize on his abilities.