Interview: Bishop Nehru Wouldn't Mind Going Mainstream: "I Could Connect With More People"

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Bishop Nehru had an idea for album called My Disregarded Thoughts nearly a decade ago, but it never came to fruition. At the time, the now 23-year-old didn’t feel he was ready to share such highly personal and introspective music with the rest of the world.

But soon, that will all change when the Hip Hop prodigy unleashes his follow-up to 2018’s Elevators: Act I & II — the appropriately titled My Disregarded Thoughts. 

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“I wasn’t as comfortable making that type of stuff that I wanted to make,” he told HipHopDX. “So I feel like on this project, I’m just comfortable making the type of music that I grew up listening to.”

The album was originally expected to arrive on Friday (November 8) but according to a recent Instagram post, it’s been delayed.

“I’ve decided that i’m going to delay the project passed NOV 8TH because of this,” he wrote. “I’m Going to roll this one out nice and special because of your support. It’s too good of a project to just throw out. Thank you for understanding.”

Recorded and engineered in DJ Premier’s Queens studio, My Disregarded Thoughts features production from longtime collaborator DOOM, Preemo and Nehru himself.

In the recent DX interview, Nehru explained how not winning a Grammy last year was almost like a wake-up call, opened up about his frustrations with the music industry and revealed what’s it’s like working with DOOM.

HipHopDX: I remember a long time ago, I think when I was still working for The Source, you told me you used to write with the shower running, and your mom used to get mad at you.

Bishop Nehru: Yeah, because the water bill was so high.

HipHopDX: Do you still do that? Is that still kind of your process?

Bishop Nehru: Yeah, I mean when I can. I don’t really do it as much anymore. It’s still something I like to do 100 percent. I just like the sound of water falling, I guess.

HipHopDX: How does the new album stack up to Elevators: Act I & II? 

Bishop Nehru: A long time ago, I went to that Justin Bieber movie called Never Say Never. I was thinking if he could make that happen for himself by accident, then I could definitely do it intentionally. The first project I was supposed to put out back then was called My Disregarded Thoughts. It was like the first title for a project I ever came up with, but I just ended up not using it.

HipHopDX: Oh, so we’re talking about before [2013’s] Nehruvia even.

Bishop Nehru: Yeah, this was like nine years ago, maybe even like 10. I just ended up not using the name because I didn’t feel like I was ready for it, I guess. I wasn’t as comfortable making that type of stuff that I wanted to make, so I feel like on this project, I’m just comfortable making the type of music that I grew up listening to as far as like singing stuff, rapping and melodic stuff and just different types of genres.

HipHopDX: I noticed you were singing. I was watching the video for “In My Zone” and you were talking about being on your own. I feel like you’re light years ahead of your peers. Do you feel isolated in that sense sometimes?

Bishop Nehru: I honestly feel annoyed with it. It’s real discouraging. I’m not going to lie. But I just feel like at the end of the day, I know that I’m better than these clowns. So I don’t really know. I do it for a different reason, I guess. It’s more about people who connect with my music. When I’m feeling discouraged or down, I’ll go to Instagram and look in my DMs and there’ll be some kid telling me they’d been listening to me since they were like in seventh grade and they’re in 12th grade now. You know what I mean? And it’s like, how the fuck am I going to stop now? There’s a bunch of people who still fuck with me. But it does kind of get discouraging because I feel like at the end of the day, a lot of the people who are in the positions that they’re in don’t use their voice correctly or even care to or even care about the music.

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HipHopDX: Or even deserve it. I feel your frustration because even as a Hip Hop fan, I’m frustrated.

Bishop Nehru: In every field, there’s a lot of like politics and and it pisses me off. All I can literally do is just keep making music. It’s like a certain side of politics and things like that where there’s like nothing you can really do except go in your own lane. A lot of those dudes have certain type of connections or whatever that I may not have access to but at the end of the day, I know that my music is better than theirs and that’s what matters to the people. 

HipHopDX: You did mention you do it for a different reason. What do you think that reason is? What makes you wake up every day and want to make Hip Hop? 

Bishop Nehru: For me, it’s more than venting in general. I kind of use it just to get out a bunch of shit that affects me. For awhile, I kind of steered away from that and was just trying to prove to people that I was the best rapper or whatever. But I’m in a space now where I feel like people know that I’m able to rap lyrically, so it doesn’t really matter. I just feel like I’m getting back to telling certain stories and just trying to strike people’s emotions rather than having the best sounding bars.

HipHopDX: I think that comes with maturity, too. I think you definitely exude that on your new stuff.

Bishop Nehru: I appreciate that.

HipHopDX: You recorded this album in DJ Premier’s studio, right?

Bishop Nehru: Yeah. Some of the songs were there, some of the songs were just recorded at my house.

HipHopDX: Crazy. You’ve been taken under the wings of some of Hip Hop pillars since you were a teenager. How does it feel to be working with some of the architects of this culture? 

Bishop Nehru: I mean, it’s always reassuring, especially when there’s people who have been in the game for a long time, 20 years, 30 years. It definitely lets me know I’m on the right track and stuff. At the same time, I don’t let it get to me too much. 

HipHopDX: Were you around when the new Gang Starr record was being recorded? 

Bishop Nehru: I heard a couple of the tracks early, but I wasn’t really around to see any of the mixing or anything like that. I was just hearing a lot of it. I knew probably for like a year or so that it was coming. 

HipHopDX: Maybe we’re starting to circle back to that golden era vibe instead of some of the bullshit we’re hearing now. Do you see that at all happening? 

Bishop Nehru: A bit. I feel like people maybe getting tired of just listening to the stuff that sounds the same. I feel like every kid, when they’re listening to music, they have this phase where they are just listening to what’s presented to them and then they start to listen for themselves and they find different stuff, usually when they get around like 11 or 12 so yeah, that could be happening as well.

HipHopDX: I saw Rapsody last night and we had such a good talk. I told her she was going to get a Grammy this year, but she said the way her music spoke to me was more important to her than any Grammy. 

Bishop Nehru: I’d still want a Grammy, you know what I mean? I feel like I deserved the Grammy last year for Elevators. For me, I look at it different. I look at it like I don’t really expect anything. It’s not really that I don’t care about it or I do. I definitely care about connecting with fans more, but I know if I’m mainstream, I can connect with more people than if I was just making my old stuff. I definitely care about being mainstream too, but I don’t expect nothing. I just work to get to that point. Whatever happens, happens. I feel like everything’s already set in stone. Like a lot of my friends for some reason, I’m a lot more advanced than them as far as experience and just living and understanding certain things.

One thing I always tell them is there’s some people who literally can’t think the stuff that you think or see what you see. If you’re saying you’re going to win a Grammy and you really see that happening, there’s kids who are literally disabled and not able to think that way. So you’re blessed to even have that vision. It’s almost disrespectful to yourself to not try to get it, you know what I mean? Because there’s kids who literally can’t even think that way to think like, “Yo, I can win a Grammy.” There’s kids who literally can’t do it. 

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HipHopDX: They don’t understand the concept of manifestation or speaking things into existence? 

Bishop Nehru: Or even more direct than that. There’s kids who are literally special that can’t think that way. God blessed you to be able to have a vision to think, “Yo, I could be this person.” You are so into your own thoughts, the way everyone else is doing it, the internet and how everybody looks successful that you feel like you’re not anything. And that’s what I try to keep for myself. I tried to just make sure that it’s like, “Fuck what everybody else is doing.” I know what I’m doing and what I’m doing for. And at the end of the day, I see it. No matter who else sees it, there’s people who can’t see it. They can’t fathom it. 

HipHopDX: How do you feel on the day your new album is about to come out?

Bishop Nehru: I’m not really nervous, more like anxious. Sometimes I get negative and almost depressed because — you could probably tell from my music — I’m a pretty emotional person. My mood changes really quick. Sometimes I’m happy and sometimes something can happen and I’ll think about it. It’ll be noticeable that I’m upset. People tell me that a lot. Me, my girl and her mom went somewhere recently. We were at a pool or something and it was a resort almost. We were chilling there and we were having a good time. I just started thinking and my girl just kept asking me, “What’s wrong?” Her mom could even see it. That happens with me a lot for some reason. I’m just a person that’s real transparent with how I feel. I’m not going to act like I don’t feel a certain way or hide how I’m feeling. 

HipHopDX: I get it. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I sometimes have a big issue with control. 

Bishop Nehru: When I made Elevators, I was literally making it to win the Grammy and it got into the voting for the Grammys. I know a dude who is an engineer on the Grammy board and he gets to do the voting. And I know the guitar player, who did some work for Elevators. They both had sent me screenshots like “Yo, I don’t know if you know, but Elevators is in the running.” I was so close. I still feel like that’s not as big as a project as it’s supposed to be. I don’t feel like it’s 100 percent my fault. I feel like there’s things, yeah, maybe I could of did more of, but I feel like at the end of the day, there’s always some type of situation — whether it be with management or having a disagreement, whatever — there’s never just a straight road to really putting it out.

HipHopDX: Well, many rappers these days get attention because of their social media antics. 

Bishop Nehru: It’s more about being a personality now is what I’m realizing. And I feel like at the end of the day, I feel like if I just post myself is still me showing my personality. So maybe that is something I could have did more of. That’s the main thing they always say to me is, “Well, you don’t post on Instagram.” So because I don’t post on Instagram, that’s why my music is not getting in the right places? That doesn’t even sound right.

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HipHopDX: Yeah, you’d think your skills would get you there. 

Bishop Nehru: Right. For me, once I noticed the project got into the voting or whatever, I knew the project wasn’t rolled out correctly at all. We kind of just put it out, you know what I mean? So once I noticed it got in the voting, I was like, “Well, if it got into voting and we just put it out, maybe I can win.” And that’s the difference between me and other people. Me, I always looked up to people like Kobe Bryant. When I was in first grade, my school picture is me in a Kobe Bryant jersey. I always looked up to people that believed in themselves and don’t stop until they get what they want. That’s how you get it.

I feel like a lot of people would think that opportunity for a Grammy was their only shot, you know what I mean? And it’s like nah. I was like, “Damn, I really almost got a Grammy. I was literally in the voting for the Grammy and nobody will ever know but me unless I tell it.” I feel like it was a good year. I really could have won. Kanye didn’t drop. A lot of people didn’t drop. So I was like, “Yo, I really could’ve won the Grammy that year.” It’s just about timing. 

It’s actually just making sure you could be in people’s faces and stay in their faces. With this project, that’s really all I’m trying to do. The first time I really started to pop in music, I was just putting out a bunch of music and I’ve never really stopped. That’s the one thing that gets me mad is when people bring me up now like, “Oh yeah, he’s back.” It’s like, “Nah, I never left.” My fans who fuck with me know I’ve been dropping music. I was the type of guy that thought quality over quantity. What I’m now realizing is the shit that I make is different than everyone else. My worst shit is better than a lot of people’s best shit (laughs).

HipHopDX: Like you’re always quality, so just keep putting it out? 

Bishop Nehru: That’s what I had to realize and I feel like that’s the space I’m in now. I’ve been touring. I’ve been doing all this just by myself. So if I get in a situation or want to sign or want to do this — one, I’m going to have leverage in that situation. And two, I’m going to be able to get the type of deal I want to get. They’re not going to be able to fuck up my contract. I can do it. 

HipHopDX: I have to ask before we go, just for my own curiosity, what’s it like working with DOOM?

Bishop Nehru: I mean, we’re eerily similar. He’s honestly just a normal dude. He’s one of the more creative people I’ve been around to be honest. He does graffiti, he likes creating action figures, things like that. All this stuff that’s in his music is genuinely him. Once I noticed that, it made his music impact me a lot more.

HipHopDX: Does he still go out bombing?

Bishop Nehru: Oh, I’m not sure.

HipHopDX: At least he’d have the perfect disguise. When are you going on tour?

Bishop Nehru: I know I’m going to Poland and Greece in December. There should be dates lined up after that. There was some news I got today about a tour, opening up for someone, but I don’t want to like jinx it or nothing because I don’t know if it’s going to happen yet. It should be dope. It was supposed to be for Mos Def. I just got a text message literally this morning. It was like, “Mos Def tour in January?” But that’s all I’m going to say. I don’t want to jinx it. 

Source: Hip Hop DX