Interview: Bishop Nehru
17-year-old Bishop Nehru first came to prominence off the back of his debut mixtape 'Nehruvia'. The New York native has been championed here in the UK by DJ Semtex and supported the Wu-Tang Clan on their UK tour in the summer having signed to Noizy Cricket, which is also home to Angel Haze. The Wrap Up's James Walsh spoke to the young rapper/producer about his rise, the follow up 'Strictly Flowz' and the vision he has for his burgeoning career...
The Wrap Up: Hi Bishop. First up, how come it was the likes of J Dilla and more old school hip-hop sounding artists that appealed to you growing up as opposed to 50 Cent and the more commercialised sound?
Bishop Nehru: I liked it because to me it sounded like an actual song. It was something that made you think. To me it sounded more like an art rather than commercial music. I was attracted to that and the lyrical approach. The lyrics are more important but the beat is also important. The levels are lyrics over beat, not beat over lyrics, y'know.
TWU: As an art, was does hip-hop represent for you?
BN: It's a way for me to vent and get my feelings out. Let everything go. It's my ventilation to go invent and express.
TWU: Who would be your dream collaboration?
BN: It would probably be Nas. Nas and Kanye.
TWU: What is your ultimate vision for yourself?
BN: I want to keep making music, then I want to get into directing. Videos and acting. Film in general, I like that a lot.
TWU: You direct your music videos. Do you have a favourite and how does the concept and creative process materialize in your mind?
BN: The music side comes from making it as a whole. I don't really put out tracks that I can't make a video for. Every track deserves to have a video. You should be able to have a set video for each track in my eyes. Like ‘Fickle Minds’ - I directed that myself and thought of the whole concept and just the fact that my vision came true so clearly is dope and amazing to me. I just start out making the beat really, then the concept, then the chorus and then the verses… by the time I'm on the chorus I know what I want to do for the video.
TWU: ‘Exhale’ has been playlisted on MTV Base. How does that feel?
BN: Yeah?! That's sick. I love that video and I wanted it to get some coverage, I appreciate that!
TWU: Labels more often than not want a commercial sounding record. Do you feel you can produce those songs? Like A$AP?
BN: I want to stick in my lane and expand my lane. I don't want to jump in other lanes and try them. I just want to expand what I'm doing. That does mean testing other things but testing them in my way. I don't think making any type of record for me is difficult. I like making music, it's something I've been doing for a while now and I've adapted to it. You have to test your creativity. Check out my Tumblr.
TWU: In terms of ‘Nehruvia’ and ‘Strictly Flowz’, what's your take on the differences and similarities between the two?
BN: ‘Nehruvia’ was straight from the bottom of my chest; that was all my emotions and so I think it was more powerful. Sound quality wise it wasn't as good; the sound quality on ‘Strictly Flowz’ progressed way more. People don't really know but ‘Strictly Flowz’ was a parody tape. It wasn't a full-out joke, it was a solid project, but everyone says I'm such a 90’s hip-hop artist but I'm not from the 90's [laughs]. I can be influenced by it but I'm going to do other stuff and test different things out. I'm still going to make 90’s influenced music, but testing is part of growing in music.
TWU: What's up next for you in the next 6-12 months?
BN: The new project with MF Doom is coming out. I finally have backing for a project now so it's going to be a huge step up from the last one. You're going to see a huge progression with this one.
TWU: When's that due?
BN: The Doom project? Early 2014.
TWU: Are you back in the UK any time soon? How do the audiences compare between here and the US?
BN: Me and Doom just had a show at the forum in London. That was my third time this year and hope to be back soon. It was a dope show. Doom did ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ twice [laughs]. I think the UK audience respect it a lot more because they know that the artist isn't going to be there every day. Crowd participation is great. In the US they do the same but know that the artist is likely to be back real soon. Both are dope.
Stay up to date with Bishop Nehru on Twitter.
Words: James Walsh (@JW_DittoMusic)