This or That? Bishop Nehru vs. Bishop Lamont
Which producer would you rather have in your corner; the slightly overweight, probably drunk guy with a mask on, or the man with very large pectorals? At least the former is making new beats again on his upcoming project with Bishop Nehru, 'NehruvianDOOM.' The latter's biceps are now so huge, he hasn't been able to move his arms and make a new beat in years. Don't be fooled -- an intern made that wishy washy 'Smoke' beat for 50 Cent, not Dr. Dre. Couldn't have been.
In 2005, Bishop Lamont didn't really have a choice. Dr. Dre cosigns you, then you're down for whateverw2. Plus, while DOOM is well-respected amongst heads, he's not a superstar like Dre. Not even close. If you had to choose which one to work with, 99 out of 100 rappers are going with the good doctor. But it doesn't mean it'll always pan out.
Bishop Nehru managed to make an elixir that brought the real DOOM into sunlight. The young New York rapper's flows are on point, especially atop DOOM's drunken drum chops, but the words within those flows are often cliche to the point of eyerolling. "Am I being idolized, or am I just a pair of idol eyes" sounds like a leftover Hot Pocket of a bar from a Quasimoto album. Nehru is technically good, yes -- all the pegs fall into all the holes very neatly -- but how do you enjoy mundane hooks like, "I'm so, so alone (so, so alone) / It's just me by myself (I'm so alone)" or "Cruel world, all I'm seeing is darkness, cruel cruel world, all I'm seeing is darkness" Go for a walk or something.
Perhaps it's unfair to expect crafty hooks from a kid Nas cosigned. Nehru's image of when "jaws open laws" on 'Darkness' is effective with assonance. His breath control is on point, but the words he strings together often come off as a bit corny, especially next to a mic master like DOOM: "Listen close, so you know how it's supposed to be / It's no joke to me, I care soulfully, for you" sounds like a page from Mac Miller's worried little heart. His voice is also a bit monotone, which works for someone as dexterous as DOOM, but not for a rookie like Bishop Nehru. With a little more animation, his bars could come to life.
Bishop Lamont is nowhere to be found. In 2010, company of Stat Quo, Rakim, and many others who signed to Aftermath and had heat from Dre on deck, but never made anything of it. One glance at the kid's Wikipedia page tells you how grand the plans were for him, from Detox features to RZA and Scott Storch beats, but five years without any big project (and over 700 songs allegedly recorded) won't work for anyone except Jay Electronica.
Lamont is no wordsmith. His style is a bit like Game's, minus the suffocating name drops. Straight forward raps, like the guy in your group of friends who shoots straight from the hip, sans any artfulness. He has his share of corny lines and songs, like 'Bitches On Myspace,' which is about exactly what you think it's about. Ultimately, even though Rakim the God MC left Aftermath too, you have to look at Dre's resumé and know he only bats 1.000 with new signees (Eminem, 50 Cent, Game, Kendrick Lamar). Whoever gets left probably didn't have it in 'em in the first place.
Neither Bishop Nehru nor Bishop Lamont have singular, go-to songs that are hard to resist. Lamont's 'N--ger Noize' tape caught the attention of Dre and is a pretty smooth listen, but little of it snags you. Likewise, Nehru doesn't have any songs that'll crack your skull open. You either like him or you don't.
In terms of future trajectory, Bishop Nehru has the edge here. If you're down with Dre for five years and nothing happens? That was probably your peak. Meanwhile, this kid got DOOM to emerge from his London lagoon with (some) beats that aren't Special Herbs. That's like getting Young Thug to rap in English -- nearly impossible.
So Nehru wins this week, if not for what he's proven, then for the potential he's shown. Hopefully he doesn't fall into the pit of soundalike rappers who mimic DOOM, lest he get caught masturbating with his own words. Then again, if he makes those words a little sexier,