Being one of the most prolific and in-demand producers currently active in today’s commercial hip-hop landscape (check his credits), it’s surprising that !llmind has never released an album that could be considered entirely his own up until now. With Beh!nd The Curta!n the New Jersey native does exactly that by stripping away everything besides what he does, leaving only the beats to speak for themselves.
The producer has been steadily releasing the Blaps, Rhymes And Life series under his name with lyrical help from today’s biggest and up-and-coming rappers. Beh!nd The Curta!n is an instrumental album that is completely his own. Without the help from any lyricist, !llmind manages to remain entertaining and engaging with varying instrumentation on these 22 short tracks. This is also despite almost all of the beats sticking to a basic hip-hop formula: heavy filtered bass, straightforward drums, glitch-y add-ons and an 80-100 bp tempo. All of the tracks on the album lend themselves to being easily taken and rapped over by a mystery guest. However, that mystery guest never volunteers to join, and that’s all right because the simplicity of !llmind’s beats never become monotonous.
This is an album that will be enjoyed mainly by hip-hop loyalists. Beh!nd The Curta!n, while it is not in-your-face engaging, is held together by !llmind’s programmed compositions, tracks that are able to hold their own without a big name MC to keep them interesting and enjoyable. A group of instrumental tracks like this doesn’t necessarily show the producer moving in a new direction with his career, but it does allow the listener to take a step back and appreciate his elegant mastery of the mixing board.