This week's upload is 2007's "Free.P" from the western mountain based collective, Black Mask. Black Mask is best known for being the crew headed up by Maulskull. The super producer/super rapper has collaborated with many indie acts from his native region (e.g. Rhyme Progression, Milogic, Eye Cue) and has also branched out and worked with larger names from the underground scene (e.g. Ceschi, Celph Titled, Snak The Ripper.)
As far as I know, "Free.P" is Black Mask's first release. I got it off the collective's now defunct website back in the day, and not much info is out there about it (I'm not even sure about the track order as none of the songs have track numbers.) I'm also not even entirely sure who was in Black Mask at this point. Maulskull, Carnage, and INfluence were definitely in the mix. Nobe1 and Raph might have been in the mix too. The lineup has changed various times throughout the years so it's a bit hard to tell.
What I can say, however, is that even in its early stages, Black Mask made some great music. Maulskull is still trying to find his production style on the project, but even so, the instrumentation is great - especially when things get fluffy and atmospheric. Nearly everyone in the crew can also rap well - lots of fun cadences and engaging content on here. Josh Martinez also stops by for a feature!
Grab this jewel if you haven't already and also be sure to check out Maulskull's amazing "Unamazing Grace" album that he dropped late last year as well as AG Flux's (a Black Mask member who joined post "Free.P") "Accompanied By Solitude" and Alex Knox's (another Black Mask member who joined after "Free.P") "Who Goes There" albums, both of which dropped last year as well.
And now for a small announcement of sorts. In honor of their turning ten, I have started to count down my Top 209 Favorite Hip Hop Projects of 2009 over on my RYM page. For each entry, I'll be dropping some brief thoughts on the given project, and for select entries, Dimxsk will be joining me! If this interests you at all, feel free to check out the countdown list HERE.