Elevators: Act I & II has all the ingredients needed for a chart-topping album; produced by MF Doom and Kaytranada, Bishop Nehru’s newest release is a listening experience that definitely packs a punch. Prior to its release he revealed, “this is my attempt at a rap Pet Sounds”. With The Beach Boys in mind, he sets a high goal for himself. Whether it’ll have the legacy or not, only time will tell.
Split into two parts with Kaytranada taking the first, ‘Ascension’, and MetalFace crafted-beats for the second, ‘FreeFalling’. The rapper follows his 2017 mixtape Emperor Nehru’s New Groove with a 12-track, carefully curated blend of tunes that makes him one to watch.
Opening with ‘Driftin’, the production has a typical Kaytranada sound to it. Blending together flutes with rhythmic bass lines, Nehru’s vocals punch through and drive the track forward. Then it’s into ‘No Idea’ which instantly gives the album a sense of momentum, with its pulsating kicks, Nehru raps over the top, “You ain’t got no idea/ Because I done been through a lot in these 15 years…” referencing the time he’s spent working on his craft.
After releasing tracks for Odd Future at just the age of thirteen, Nehru’s latest release is indicative of a progression. The incredibly catchy ‘Up, Up and Away,’ shows his commercially intellectual side by collaborating with Kaytranada for ‘Ascension’. However, it’s MF Doom’s produced side, ‘Freefalling’ that has a more old-school feel to it.
‘Again and Again’ has jazzy, slightly funk-infused guitars as Nehu’s bars bring a low-fi classic sound. As it progresses into a climax, the trumpets power through as the chorus goes with a fantastic result. ‘Potassium’ also includes more instrumentals and drifts nicely into the funky ‘Rollercoaster’ that conveys a Roy Ayers-meets dusty hip-hop sound. With its layering of instrumentals and careful blending between tracks, the intention to pay homage to Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys becomes more evident.
Wrapping up with the track ‘Rooftops’, there’s a blending of old-school jazz and modern hip-hop, as many artists seem to be doing right now, Kendrick Lamar and Rejjie Snow spring to mind. With this in mind, it could be suggested that while Nehru isn’t doing anything particularly groundbreaking, Elevators: Act I & II still sounds good. However, by having Kaytranada and MF Doom by his side, it was always guaranteed to be a success.