At 18, Bishop Nehru is one of hip-hop’s youngest stars. 20 Watt’s own young buck Mikey Light talked with him about music, movies, and future moves when he played in Syracuse University’s Schine Student Center, Syracuse March 22
20 WATTS: So this is your first ever college show, right?
BISHOP NEHRU: Is it? I’ve done college shows overseas but in the states I think so, yeah.
20 WATTS: That’s cool, so what do you think of Syracuse?
BISHOP NEHRU: A lot of my family lives up here, so I’ve been here a couple of times.
20 WATTS: Cool, so you’re from New York right? Rockland County? How do you think that where you’re from effects your work? Do you draw inspiration from it?
BISHOP NEHRU: Yeah I believe that’s what art is about, drawing inspiration from your surroundings. So I pretty much just try to draw inspiration from everywhere around me, even when I travel.
20 WATTS: I remember maybe two or three years ago I started seeing you pop up on a lot of online hip hop forums. You’re what, 18 now, and you’re already working with people like Nas and MF DOOM. How have you handled the jump from being a kid making music in your home, to working with some of the greats?
BISHOP NEHRU: I kinda say all of the time that I didn’t really notice it. I still don’t really see it like everybody else does, like a huge jump. It’s just kind of like living, you know what I mean? Like waking up and it happened. It’s kind of unexplainable, but that’s the best way that I can put it into words, it’s just living.
20 WATTS: So you don’t think that the way that you produce music has changed since you’ve started working with more established artists? Would you say that your style has remained pretty consistent?
BISHOP NEHRU: Yeah I believe so. I never threw away any of the old stuff that I used and upgraded to different stuff. I just upgraded to different stuff and kept my old stuff as well, just because down the line I know there’s gonna be fans that are like “Oh I miss when Bishop used to drop that old stuff,” you know, like the stuff that sounded sonically bad, because people like stuff that sounds raw, as well as stuff that sounds crisp and clean. I try to keep as many different recording mics and speakers around just to kinda get the sonics sounding different.
20 WATTS: Interesting. So who are some your contemporaries that you draw inspiration from?
BISHOP NEHRU: Right now it’s really just myself to be honest, but before it was kind of like all of the people that I’m working with right now. Nas, Doom, all of the people who without even knowing it forced me to start rapping, Jay Electronica, people like that.
20 WATTS: So you went right from listening to your idols to working with your idols, that’s amazing.
BISHOP NEHRU: Yeah it’s crazy.
20 WATTS: So I hear you also edit and direct video, tell me a little bit about that, how did that start?
BISHOP NEHRU: Well, when I was around 11 or 12, before I really started recording music, I used to make montages. That’s how I learned how to edit, slicing and synching stuff to certain sounds and stuff like that, doing overdubs. I learned all of that from just making montages. Directing, I got into it just because I was editing, and I wanted to edit my own footage if that makes sense. I had been watching movies for a long time and I always kind of knew certain ideas that I had that hadn’t really been done. I just wanted to open that door too.
20 WATTS: What kind of movies do you like? Are there any that have influenced your work?
BISHOP NEHRU: I like a lot of psychological thrillers, movies that make you think about the ending. Like “The Prestige,” “Nine Dead,” or “Saw.” I like the twist, you know, movies that you actually have to think about and try to figure out the ending. Then you can watch it again and still find something new.
20 WATTS: I know that you’re a huge Wu-Tang Fan, and you actually got to open for them. How was that?
BISHOP NEHRU: It was crazy, the show was mad. It was in London. Any time that I go out of the country the crowds are always super amped because they don’t really get hip-hop as much, so it was crazy, it was sick.
20 WATTS: So what’s next for Bishop?
BISHOP NEHRU: I got a lot of music, I have an EP that I was working on on the side. I have my debut album that I’m working on. Just a bunch of music, pretty much. I want to do a lot more directing as well, I want to do a lot more with film and photography.
20 WATTS: Where are you headed next? Any more tour stops?
BISHOP NEHRU: I have the Governors Ball lined up, and bunch of other festivals and stuff.
20 WATTS: Yeah, a lot of the younger guys like Tyler and Earl have been playing the festivals. I know you’re a big Odd Future fan, have you had a chance to work with them yet?
BISHOP NEHRU: Not yet, I opened up for Earl overseas though.
20 WATTS: A lot of people compare you to Earl, mostly because you’re both very young. Do you think that you and Earl have a lot in common?
BISHOP NEHRU: I mean, we both like Doom, but other than that, not really. I do my thing, they do their thing.
20 WATTS: Who’s around right now that you haven’t collaborated with that you would like to?
BISHOP NEHRU: A$AP Rocky, J-Cole, Kendrick. A lot of them are in rock and metal. Like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, a bunch of different genres like Robert Glasper.
20 WATTS: That’s interesting, I know that B.o.B has been talking about a rock album recently, would you be interested in maybe doing something that’s not hip-hop?
BISHOP NEHRU: Yeah of course, my first album actually that I ever made was a jazz album. I started off making beats when I was like 12. The first thing I ever tried to compose was jazz, and that’s probably what I’m gonna end up 360ing right back to, and ending up making a jazz album with me on piano.
20 WATTS: So you play piano? Do you play on your releases?
BISHOP NEHRU: When I can yeah, I try to stay sharp on it. I played probably a little before ninth grade, but ninth grade was when I actually started getting taught certain things about piano through like school and stuff. So from ninth grade until maybe about 11th or 12th was when I was getting taught it, and I just stopped for whatever reason. I came back to it, and now I’m starting to really like it. Now I’m good at it, and I wanna use it to my advantage.
20 WATTS: That’s awesome. Would you ever consider working that into your live show?
BISHOP NEHRU: Yeah, I did a show for Kendrick over in Brooklyn, I played piano there, but I haven’t done it since. I don’t know, I feel like I don’t want to do it until I’m 100% sharp on it. When I did it that day I wasn’t even really that sharp on piano, I’m way better now. I probably should work in that and the MPC. I want to incorporate the MPC into my live show.
20 WATTS: Sounds great. Well, it was great talking to you Bishop, I’ll see you around!
BISHOP NEHRU: Yeah most definitely.
Image courtesy of Youtube/Nehruvia