Median Recalls Early 9th Wonder Style, Explains Evolution Of The Justus League
Exclusive: The North Carolina emcee chronicles the super-collective that ranges from Buckshot to Rapsody, and explains how he had an opportunity to step things up for his sophomore, "The Sender."
Median. The name can mean a lot of things but to this Justus League member, the name is as complex as the artist.
Recently dropping his second studio LP, The Sender - executive produced by Phonte and 9th Wonder, Median hopes that he, like others in the Justus League, will become more than just a mysterious name with dope records.
Newer members of the Justus League have attributed a lot of their success to the instrumentals provided by legendary producer 9th Wonder; however none of the newer members had a first hand account of how 9th Wonder came to be, except Median.
HipHopDX recently spoke to the Raleigh emcee about the becoming of 9th Wonder and what the ultimate goal of Median really is.
Median Breaks Down His Role In The Justus League
HipHopDX: What does it mean to be a part of The Justus League with artists, some newer like Skyzoo, but some older guys like Buckshot? What does that mix do for your artistry?
Median: Right. [Buckshot] has a whole movement/legacy that spans beyond like when I wrote my first line, I already had a Buckshot log full of classics. So yeah, that’s a whole other world but I mean just watching all the moves that all the guys made, 9th [Wonder] in particular, it’s just amazing. Because all of those names are names that you know are relevant and have history so watching him with those who you came up on. It’s like the producer gods gave him that type of ability to move that way and it’s just great to be watching.
DX: You go back with 9th Wonder. Tell us about his influence and how you two grew together as artists…
Median: Yeah it’s a little different for me because I’ve heard some of his first beats - like he might have not made 10 beats yet when I recorded the first song I ever recorded with him. We go back a little differen,t so I saw the development before those things were created like [Little Brother's] The Listening , or even the process of the creation of The Listening. It was the first of all of us so just being a part of the crew, it still drives me in the same way that it would for someone like a Rapsody or someone, who wasn’t around seeing everything but it’s a different kind of inspiration and a different kind of honor to work with my brothers, basically. It’s almost like those are my brothers musically. But it’s a great thing to have that type of access.
DX: What were the first days of 9th Wonder’s producing career like?
Median: I will say that even with his first beats, everyone goes through a growth process but it was evident with his first beats that I heard that you know, he had it and the potential to make more. Even though it was more like if I could compare what he does now to where he started, I could always tell that samples were always going to be with him and just make samples into music. What he used to do was crazy. He used to line up hi-hats, right? If he gave you a beats CD with 10 beats on it, they would all have the same exact tempo, the same hi-hat and the same snare kit, but the musical backdrop like the colors he would put with what he sampled would be so uniquely different but they would still for an emcee, it was kind of like working with all the different emcees in The [Justus] League gave him the ability to work with emcees and learn how to tailor your sound to people that approach your instrumentals different. It was building and making the songs around the emcees. I watched that growth happen with working with different emcees from a person like Phonte to like a Legacy or a flow of somebody and he learned how to make beats and pick beats that would work well with the different personalities early on so yeah it was great man.
DX: Median is a very interesting name and has a lot of meanings. How did you come up with that kind of name?
Median: I guess I was thinking of a name at some point right when I was starting writing and I didn’t have a name yet and so I think I stumbled on that because I knew I wanted something that meant bridging the gap between and like you said has a lot of meanings but I always felt like I was a gap bridger for a lot of different reasons but I kind of gravitated towards that name and looked it up and it was just perfect so I kind of found it for me.
Median Explains His Vision With The Sender
DX: The Sender dropped recently. How do you think it turned out and was there anything missing that you wish could have been included?
Median: Well I love the way it came out. Of course if I had maybe more time, and I don’t know if time was an issue, but I definitely see how I could make another album better like where the growth can be as far as song transitions and little details but as far as like lyrically and the beats that I have, I’m really happy with all of that and the way it came out. Like the things I had to pick from and how to cohesively fit together like it’s a good sound and just with the length and everything it’s just a real good feeling. I’m enjoying riding around to it.
DX: How is your sound different from other artists from the south?
Median: Well I mean like I came up with a crew of guys that feel like my sound is right on the mark with what our sound is. I mean, we were all raised in the South so we have our own thing within this you know like 9th is from Winston-Salem and you know his beat-making style, his favorite [producer] is Pete Rock, so he is influenced by his sound and it still has his own extension - and even my flow you could compare it to a couple New York rappers, but I am still rapping about my own life so it’s here and it’s definitely NC, but it’s an East Coast style, if there’s such a thing. There are definitely influences that extend beyond NC. Hip Hop in general, the birthplace is credited by being from the Bronx, so a lot comes from New York City and even that I mean we could talk for hours about how people that end up up North have migrated from the South and if you want to credit it, you have to kind of really trace the tree to the roots and even Southern things that were born on plantations.
So Hip Hop has been here beyond you know Sugar Hill Gang and anything like that. So with all that being said, we came up on [East Coast] Hip Hop, so just the fact that Pete Rock’s sound is what influenced 9th and how he makes beats and then my flows you could maybe compare it to like a Common or anybody but to put that on top of the sound it will make that type of thing even though we are bringing something new to it. Instrumentals makes the sound of the record more than anything else like the backdrop is what you’re rhyming over. If you think about a West Coast sound you think about [Dr.] Dre because I mean, if you put Snoop [Dogg] on [DJ Premier production], he might have his own Cali thing on it, but it’s going to be a Premo beat, so it’s going to be that hard sound that’s accredited to being from New York City, so that really shakes that type of power there.
DX: People ask other artists, “What’s your message?” and that seems corny but really what is the goal of median as a Hip Hop artist and what are you trying to do with your career?
Median: Right. I definitely in the future want to do more shows and reach people that the music has actually already touched and get a chance to perform live in front of different audiences so that’s one thing. I definitely want to exploit, exploit for the lack of a better term [laughing] the whole visual side and I really want to work this project a little different from say Median’s Relief . I want to do videos and maybe give it some type of touring situation possibly and just do that aspect of it because I think they are really good songs, I mean each record on the album so I think that I could push them individually as different singles or different things like that but also just get the name out so I could do another project and just pretty much have a run and see where this thing takes it. I definitely create music for the listeners so whatever people want like if there’s a place that people want to see me and if they bring me there promoter-wise or whatever then I’ll be there and same thing with the music. As long as it seems to be useful and I’ve gotten a lot of good spots from it so it seems like people are into the sound so I continue to create the music that people like.