As a life long Little Brother fan, I was beyond excited to see Phonte & 9th Wonder end their differences on Twitter a few months ago.
Let’s face it, Little Brother wasn’t really the same without 9th—yes, they did release good projects as a duo after his departure but the merger of the trio birthed classics like: The Listening, The Minstrel Show, and Chittlin’ Circuit, just to name a few.
With that being said, one of the first things the two did was help executive produce Justus League affiliate Median’s second album, The Sender, out via The Foreign Exchange Music (FEMusic) and 9thWonder’s Jamla. I knew I was going to have to hear this project not only because 9th and Phonte were affiliated but because Median’s first projects, The Path to Relief EP, and Median’s Relief, were examples of great music. I can honestly say, I remember the first time I heard “How Big Is Your World?” and how much I love/loved that song. With all that being said, I had relatively high hopes for this project. Did they hold up?
Yes, and I’ll tell you why.
Initially, why I gravitated towards Median’s music was because his voice was refreshing. Typically, when you listen to hip-hop for the most part a lot of people sound the same—same tones or subject contents—however, Median’s voice is a little high pitched and very clear and crisp. That could be an odd thing to mention as to why you like someone, but that’s why I have always been partial to his music.
Secondly, this project like it’s predecessors is just good music. Median, always find the balance between songs of substance and songs that just make you feel good which is explored again with this project with songs like: “Special” “Bright Individual” “Kiss The Sky” and “Take A Chance.”
The production selection on this project featuring the likes of Kev Brown, Khrysis, 9th Wonder, S1, Astronote, Amp, and Fatin, is a rather impressive palette to use on a project. You can honestly listen to this project all the way through, and all the production fits exactly what Median is saying well. The only beat on the whole project that I am questionable about is the 9th Wonder produced “Open My Thoughts” because it sounds like he sampled Drake’s “Fancy.” The production of “Turn Ya On” is perhaps one of my favorite tracks on the album—S1 produced a banger. Also, The 9th Wonder produced “Right On” which samples Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” is a personal favorite as well.
Another cool thing about this album is the features. If you read the blog on a regular basis, you will read me saying things like some projects have way too many features—Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday, however, for this project it works really well. One of the best things that was done when selecting the features for this project is including artists from the FE camp, and the Jamla camp since both have a rather impressive roster. The features used just add to the overall appeal of the project—however, they still give Median the perfect place to shine. And let’s be honest, having Median, Phonte and Big Remo on one track is kind of genius. Bringing together these three emcees, is what they call a “banger.”
This album has definite highlights, the unorthodox chords and verse transition of “Turn Ya On” which makes for the perfect collaboration and hence a personal favorite on the album. The lead single from the project “Bright Individual” produced by Khrysis with additional vocals from the beautiful Jeanne Jolly, with cuts from DJ Flash was actually used to make you anticipate this project. This is the epitome of a summertime chill track; Khrysis did a really good job with the production even allowing the lyrics to not get overshadowed. The hook of this song sounds like it’s almost dedicated to the fans. Also, the magic that Median and Khrysis made was repeated again with “Okie Dokers.” The laid-back production on this track, and the back and forth of their verses, makes this track a definite highlight. The last clear highlight would be “Special” featuring Phonte, Yahazarah and Bahamadia produced by Astronote is a personal favorite on this whole album. As a fan of The Foreign Exchange myself, I love Phonte and Yahzarah together in addition to Median, which makes for the perfect marriage. However, adding in Bahamadia—yes, Bahamadia the undisputed queen of hip-hop, sets this track over the top.
To sum everything up, it’s really great to see Median back with a project that appears to be well planned out. Median’s flow is solid, the production is solid and the features a solid—all things that are kind of rare in the musical days of our lives. Make sure you get this album via FEMusic or ITunes and support GREAT music.