In a culture that embraces and glorifies individualism and style, artists that can truly be deemed ‘unique’ are a dying breed. Year after year, release after release, up-and-coming emcees have claimed they are “the new shit,” “flippin’ the script,” or “changing the game.” More likely, it’s just another typical album. Rhymes over beats, “I’m the dopest rapper ever”, and so on. We have all heard it before.
However, this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. Median’s Relief, the new album by Justus League affiliated rapper Median, serves as proof. You may have heard the young, quick-tongued emcee grace the microphone with his presence before. Before releasing his first solo album Median had been featured on Little Brother’s The Listening, and put out a few of his own 12″ singles of his own.
Median’s Relief is a breath of fresh air for those hip-hop heads that have stopped acknowledging the American south as a hip-hop Mecca. The album is studded with tracks by producer-extraordinaire 9th Wonder, and features rappers as Chaundon and Joe Scudda. Aside from the two HOJ family members and a few singers providing harmonies, Median deserves most of the credit, vocally, for making this a great album. All too often solo emcees’ albums have other artists featured on every other track, making it difficult to get a feel for his or her style.
One of the more refreshing aspects to the album is Median’s ever-changing flow. Unlike a lot of emcees trying to make a name these days, Median doesn’t stick to flat 16-bar verses and the usual know-what-I’m-sayin’ rhymes. On “Personified,” he spits about waking up and showering as if it were a sexual affair and taking care of an old automobile like it was his best girl:
She was runnin for this white guy / Way out in the country, / He had to let her go because he needed extra money, / Found him a replacement, / Had her lookin’ dusty, / I seen her in the paper and I had to go and claim her, / Gave her some oil and she drank it, / Copped her a CD player / And now when I’m inside her she be singin’.
On the album’s single “Rize,” Median unfurls a blend of background information about where he came from and how he got to where he is today. The semi-personal verses are complimented by Khrysis’ production, highlighted by soft horns and a groovy bass guitar riff, and a hook sung by Median and female vocalist Lahedra.
The most introspective track on the album would be “How Big is Your World.” One the first verse Median makes a connection between analysis of both pop and political culture. On the second verse he relates the latter to problems and stresses of his own life, ultimately summing up how and where his thoughts travel.
Overall, Median’s Relief is a sort of compensation when compared to not-so-amazing solo hip-hop albums of 2007. Be on the lookout for Median, may be the most talented emcee to come out of North Carolina since Big Pooh and Phonte. He surely has the talent to do some big things in the near future. – Esam “Sergy” El-Morshedy
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