Every artist, from country to heavy metal to Hip Hop worries
about the sophomore jinx. Some start strong and fall flat, while others knock
the all important second offering out of the box. Median falls in the latter category. The Justus League representative is back with Median's Relief, an honest and soulful 16 track opus on life and
love, which picks up where the first EP, Median's
Path to Relief left off.
With the game currently dominated by thuggin and blinged out
braggadocio sixteens, Median raps
for the common man. This is "I just got
off my 9 to 5 and need to unwind" type of Hip Hop. But make no mistake
about it--Median can spit. Rize finds him taking listeners through
the story of his life, dispelling the myth that sports and drugs are the only
way out of a bad situation. "Landlord say
he gotta raise the rent again/ now we raise the issue how we gonna raise the
dividends/ since I was raised a little different/ there's gotta be a way to
rise outside of what was given here/ jumpshot couldn't score scholarship to get
em there/ plus I couldn't pump rocks on my block cause junkies wasn't livin
there/ with eyebrows raised, the lights start to flicker/ I'm the bomb with
rhyming I could rhyme to niggas," he raps over the horn heavy, mid tempo Khrysis beat.
Production wise, Median doesn't stray far from the Justus League fam, with in house
producers 9th Wonder and the aforementioned Khrysis holding down the
majority of board duty. Rounding out this family affair is Nicolay of Foreign
Exchange fame, supplying the sounds for three of the album's tracks. Relief is truly a family effort, and
Median is at his best over the soulful, laid back compositions.
The strength in relief is its versatility--creative
versatility that is. If you're expecting the song for everybody formula (club
song, girl song, hood song) that's become popular today, keep searching. Median
takes chances with song concepts and subject matter, schooling rappers on the
art of the mastering the English language. Subjects include the simile (Simile), the metaphor (Personified), and the art of story
telling (the Joe Scudda and Chaundon assisted Choices). Later on the disc, he switches gears, assuming the role
of history teacher on Power Shift. He
calls for a change in the state of Hip Hop, reminding all of us that without
the emcees, the game comes to a halt with lines like, "Too many humans do the same dang iddish/...getting paid until the next
craze hits/ Who's pulling the strings/replacing all the kids in here/bruh, is
it the puppet or the puppeteer/I think it's power to the people with the
numbers here/without the players the coaches couldn't function in this.../Hip
Hop kids invented all these ideas.../We need a catalyst to spark another power
shift." Class is in session, grab your books!
In fact, it's the element of story telling that allows Median to shine. He takes up the task
of adding another chapter to 2Pac's Brenda's Got a Baby. The result is Brenda's Baby, a believable tale of what
would've likely happened to the daughter Pac's
character originally dropped in a garbage can. Median finds Brenda's
seed running drugs across state lines before a tragedy brings her to a life
changing epiphany. It's a story fitting for an evening news feature. Pac would be proud.
Median manages to
avoid the sophomore jinx by remaining true to himself. Longtime fans will not
be disappointed and listeners tired of the mainstream will find refuge in Relief. If Hip Hop is dying, Median's got the surgical tools to save
it--and he's not afraid to operate.