[19 October 2007]
Median, a North Carolina member of the proficient hip-hop collective Justus League, made his solo debut last year with the quaint and breezy EP The Path to Relief. The record offered a somewhat brief glimpse of what was yet to come, and after tightening up his flows with guest appearances on his brethren’s albums, Median has finally released the smooth and glistening Median’s Relief. With his nasal voice and unwavering style, Median flexes his lyrical muscle by successfully toying with figures of speech on tracks like the apt-titled “Personified”, on which he rhymes, “Shower just distressin’ me, beggin’ me for action / Last night I washed my hands, the soap’s braggin’ / Lavish, bubbly, laughin’ in the lather.” Median is quick to curb his jaunty demeanor on “Brenda’s Baby”, where he entails the terrifying journey of a drug mule, inspired by the film Maria Full of Grace. Although the lyrics are captivating and mostly memorable, Relief inherits its replay value from the production, predominantly handled by in-house beat-coddlers 9th Wonder and Nicolay. But surprisingly, the best beats on the album are from outer-circle associates. “Simile”, produced by Zo!, features gorgeous and twinkling instrumentation that clearly overshadows the rhymes, but Median takes back the reigns on the ominous and slow-rolling “What Would You Do?” produced by Ant B. With loose rhymes and fluid beats, Median’s Relief is the romantic and intelligent endeavor expected from such a poetic emcee, and with the torrent of League releases circulating in the underground, this record is sure to make one of the bigger splashes.