Everything special takes time. Mister Freedom is special.

Our post on the insane amount of albums being released by local hip hop artists over the past week is a drop in the current buzz floating around in the thin Colorado air. People are slowly beginning to notice how badass and creative the local hip hop scene is. One of the most boundary-pushing of the current releases comes from Mister Freedom — a DJ/emcee combination catching stride after the recent drop of their first self-titled album.

To say producer Neon Brown and rapper FL go together like peanut-butter and jelly would be unjust to the real state of their collaborative efforts, and to sandwiches. Everyone already knows peanut butter and jelly is a good combination, whereas these two have such distinct previous styles, it's great. The collaboration could be described more like a Jack and Coke — though good on their own, there’s a give and take to the collabo that would seem the two feed off of one another entirely. 

“I was friends with FL on Facebook and he had posted that he was looking for a DJ for some upcoming shows,” producer Neon Brown says of connecting with FL. “I was living in Oakland at the time and I always try to book a couple gigs when I come back to Denver so I messaged him. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out, but FL sent me his solo album 'Limbo' and I was blown away by his skill.”

FL, who had already made a name for himself in the city by rapping for a group called The Foodchain, is familiar with collaboration as a whole, he adds, but not in this particular way. “With Foodchain’s first two albums, we re-looped or restructured all types of things in the composition of each song," FL says. "With Mister Freedom, Neon brought me the album in a completed state.” 

Neon’s production is captivating. His dense use of live instruments makes a sound comparable to Flying Lotus, known for creating instrumental albums that often tell stories on their own, sometimes even better than rappers using words.

“I do not only make hip-hop,” says Neon of his production style. "I am a lover of all music, so I usually make what I feel. Anything I feel interested in I pick up, bass, guitar, suitcase glockenspiel, organ …”

FL faced the challenge of matching the intensity of the instrumental tracks with his lyrics while he was writing for the record, but the veteran Denver MC felt he handled the situation perfectly. The captivating story-telling on the track “Suites For Smalls” is a true testament to the amount of time and effort FL puts into writing lyrics. “When the production was brought to me, it was already done for the most part," he says. "We worked in the lab for a year tinkering with the records, re-writing things, and changing concepts.”

The resulting album is raw, experimental, and may be seen by some as a "breath of fresh air" — although Neon doesn’t think it should be. “Mister Freedom is not a breath of fresh air," he says. "It is suffocation, uneasiness and schizophrenic. It embodies the feeling and energy of America as of today.” It should be uncomfortable. Like a listener can't breathe.

Mister Freedom is a daring project from two artistic creators who know the importance of patience. Every second of the album (even the fading ends of songs and album interludes) represents a story that fits not only the country's social, but also political context of America today. There’s an attention to detail in “Mister Freedom” that audiences can recognize and appreciate, all the while forcing them to digest a message that they may not feel comfortable with. The group describes the project as "… art. It is real. It is expressive. It is reflective. It is observant. It is truthful. It is curious. It is challenging. It is honest. It is hurtful. It is emotional. It is emotionless. It is political. It is ignorant. It is American.”

But as with all good things, Mister Freedom isn't a permanent structure. “Both Neon and I are working on a ton of (other) stuff," says FL. "Neon is working on a collaborative beat tape, and I’m working on sequels and collaboration projects with some Denver heavy hitters. We’re both fully embracing our creative spaces and trying to create something fresh.”

Hopefully the duo of Mister Freedom works together again soon, but everything special takes time. Mister Freedom is special, and to a scene on the brink of a breakout, a collaboration such as this can only enrich that which is already in place.