Median Median's Relief

Listening to this album, it’s puzzling as to why North Carolina’s Jacob Livingston chose the name Median as his moniker. His effortless rhyming style and thought-provoking lyrics, as well as unique high-pitched voice, immediately make him a distinctive presence on his full-length debut. Median has been a peripheral presence on several releases from North Carolina’s Justus League crew but he comes into his own here. Despite the fact that the album features sound providers like 9th Wonder, Nicolay and Khrysis, who are usually associated with the crew, Median’s Relief is one of the most impressive full-lengths to surface from the collective since Little Brother emerged with The Listening. Median’s appeal is crystallised on "Personified,” where Median makes the mundane routine of using the bathroom, getting dressed in the morning and driving a car sound positively riveting. Other highlights include "Brenda’s Baby,” a narrative that draws on 2Pac and Maria Full of Grace for inspiration, and thought-provoking tour de force "How Big Is Your World?” When he’s joined by other MCs though, the interest level dips quickly. Thankfully, most of the album spotlights Median on his own, recognising that he is way above average. (Halftooth)