North Carolina-based emcee Median knows how to alleviate the drama. His first two projects; The Path to Relief EP and Median’s Relief appear to be named in that spirit, and The Sender is no exception. Brought to you by Jamla and +FE Music, the full length sophomore offering of this Hall of Justus comrade actualizes a breath of fresh air.
From the start it is difficult to select standout songs; the August 2011 release delivers the sentiments promised in the Kev Brown produced intro. That toast to the gift of giving, the pleasure of pleasing and receiving was the perfect salutation to “Take A Chance,” where Phonte lends his first of a trio of scintillating verses on the album. But for as smooth as the opening track is, the second goes hard. The Khrysis composed “Bright Individual” almost blasts though your speakers. Heavy drums skip playfully but knock over a bass line worthy of your ugliest ugly face, as Median in contrast casually surfs the beat.
Completing the trifecta is the 9th Wonder’s “Open My Thoughts” as Median attests “you’re only funky as your last cut.” It seems he’s taking heed to his own mantra; not focusing on past efforts but bringing us fresh music with a renewed vigor. Gliding in next the seductive S1 concocted “Change Your Life;” featuring Rappin’ Tay along with Big Remo, and Singin’ Tay on the hook, sustains the groove.
The first eight tracks of The Sender are damn near flawless with carefully selected assists, complementary melodies and a commanding performance by Median. A couplet of Khrysis jams secure mid-album, and the gruff voiced producer even blesses the mic on the Tyrone Davis diced “Okie Dokers.” King Mez steals the show on “Fresh Breath” which also features Sundown of Actual Proof, showcasing some first-rate Carolina talent.
After a slight lull, things pick back up with Fatin’s “Sizzlin.” B-girl incarnate Rapsody lends her syrupy rasp for four bars of the hook. It’s just enough, but we almost wish she’d have stuck around for a few more. Toward the end there’s another drop in mood, but the suitably named “Special” featuring Phonte and YahZarah’s pitch-perfect harmonies more than makes up for it. “Kiss The Sky” boasting ethereal vocals from Sy Smith, and title cut “The Sender” finish up steady.
The Sender is a gem in 2011 hip hop. Median continues to show his breadth as a lyricist; rhyming the intricacies of his mind with fluidity from Only Built 4 Cuban Links references to meditative musings on life. While it may not have had the mainstream appeal it deserves, his gift will stand the test of time. We’re sure as he predicted, ten years later the world will still listen.
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