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.