Eric Thurm still kinda likes Key To The Kuffs.
DOOM and Bishop Nehru dropping “Darkness,” the first track and visual from their collaborative album NehruvianDOOM, should have been an exciting moment for fans who’ve been waiting for new material from the masked villain like stoned pilgrims. But everything about “Darkness” is… dark, and not in a good way. The video finds Nehru wandering through a monochromatic, generic graffiti-scape, which is about right for the rest of the track. For as much as the team has been touted, there’s little new. Bishop Nehru obviously has a precocious talent that attracted DOOM to him in the first place, something he’s demonstrated already staying on top of other DOOM beats. Here though, he’s lazy, sleeping through the verses and phoning in the hook. The only person doing less work is his mentor.
Though DOOM has done the most promotional work for NehruvianDOOM of perhaps any of his recent releases, it doesn’t seem like he could have been bothered to make a new beat. “Darkness” is just another instrumental off his years-old Special Herbs series (it’s “Bergamont” in Vol. 9 & 0 and “Galangal Root” in the mixed-up Vol. 0-9 box set). Don’t get me wrong, Special Herbs is great—I’ve engaged in a wider range of activities listening to the collection than I’d care to admit. And there’s good rapping out there on albums that are technically DOOM collaborations but just use those beats, especially Masta Ace’s Son Of Yvonne. So it’d be fine if that’s all NehruvianDOOM was, except that DOOM has put some work into promoting this one as something he actually put his metal fingers on, and tricked us (or at least me) into thinking he was actually going to make some new material instead of continuing to coast on his productive decade or so.
I could be wrong-—maybe the rest of the tracks on NehruvianDOOM will have awesome, or least decent, original beats from DOOM. But if “Darkness” is supposed to be the big song that announces the album (and the back-and-forth on whether it’d be an EP or a full-length is any indication), NehruvianDOOM will just be another in a long line of post-2006 DOOM projects that trade on the music that made him such a beloved figure in the first place. Maybe my expectations were too high, thinking that DOOM would put a lot of effort into anything at this rate, but it seemed like in Nehru he’d found someone who excited him enough to get fired up about making music again. If that’s not the case, I’d rather DOOM drop all pretensions of being invested in any of his fake projects (even the ones we all know are never coming out). The best thing to do in darkness is go to sleep.