|Label:||Jamla (IWWMG)/+FE Music|
|Next Project:||Median's Relief (Sept. 07)|
|Twitter:||Median on Twitter|
Make no mistake, hip-hop is a business. Like any business it’s full of demographic research and marketing campaigns designed to maximize profit and stock shares. But anyone crying out that business tactics have killed hip-hop just isn’t looking hard enough. While radio and TV copy the latest fads, rapper Median remains dedicated to making innovative and creative music. Fans eager for more from the much hyped lyricist can finally breathe easy, his full-length album “Median’s Relief” is finally here. With fellow Justus League members 9th Wonder and Khrysis supplying the beats, Median has plenty of musical backing for his feel good intelligent flow. In a wide-ranging interview with DJBooth’s Nathan S. he talks about the meaning of his name, who has the power in hip-hop, and his plans to build a business empire across North Carolina.
Listen to the Interview
Median Interview Transcription
DJBooth: What’s up everyone? This is Nathan from DJBooth.net, and with me today is a truly gifted lyricist, please welcome Median. How you doin man?
Median: What’s goin on man? I’m doin great.
DJBooth: Good to hear. I’ll be honest, I spend a lot of time dreaming about what my MC name would be so I’m always interested in people who have dope names. What’s the story behind Median?
Median: Actually, I spent a lot of time dreamin about it. [laughs] I can’t remember exactly what was goin’ on in my mind when I picked it but it represents different things to me. Median represents balance, and when I first started writing, and even now, I consider myself to be the type of artist that bridges the gap between what’s goin on musically. In my life I bridge the gap between people; I got different people from different walks of life that I surround myself with and I’m the commonality between them. I got people on the streets, I’m a college graduate so you got your scholars, I own my own business and that world has its own language. So that’s where Median came from.
DJBooth: I don’t want to reveal myself as a math nerd, but median means common and middle, it doesn’t mean average. That’s an important distinction.
Median: It’s got a couple different definitions but the one I chose is balance.
DJBooth: You’ve got an album coming out Sept. 25th, it’s titled Median’s Relief. What are you relieving us from?
Median: I’m not relieving you from anything. It really is Median’s relief.
DJBooth: So it’s all about you then?
Median: Right. It helps the listener get into me, it’s about me in a lot of different ways. A lot of my thoughts and opinions, and all of them are feel good records of course. I never would sacrifice content for the music, it’s just my approach to relief.
DJBooth: A lot of artists are so focused on hot beats they forget to have any content, and then there’s the guys who are so focused on the message they forget to make good music. How do you approach your music?
Median: That’s another way you could use my name Median, in terms of that balance. I think I have a good balance by picking beats that work well for me and even beats that work well together in the sequence of an album. I definitely took the time to put together a project where all the songs feel right together, the order works from start to finish, it creates a mood. Once I have the backdrop I deliver with the lyrics. For people that aren’t familiar with my work I’m considered to be a lyricist, so I can’t get away from that.
DJBooth: Speaking of which your first single is called Rize. You get lyrically deep but it still has an up-tempo feel good vibe. How did that song come about?
Median: Khrysis produced that, he’s a member of my crew the Justus League. That was actually the first song I recorded for the project. I just went to the studio one day and he was in there and he had a couple beats and I particularly liked that one. A girl named LaDehra, who’s featured on the hook, was in the studio to do a demo and it just came together. The singing part she does, I had those words already but I’m not a singer so I let her handle that. The rest is just history. We got together and put it down.
DJBooth: Before the album drops you’ve also released a mixtape called Median’s Relief In The Making. What was behind the decision to drop the mixtape?
Median: That was more what the label wanted to do. I’ve got a lot of material out in the world, I’ve done a lot of features even though I haven’t put out a full length LP. I put out an EP a couple years back called The Path to Relief and I had these new songs, so the label decided we should give people who aren’t familiar with me a chance to get into what I’ve done. It’s free for download so that’s one of the attractive things for people who don’t know me and just come across it. I think it’s a pretty good representation of where I’m at up until the album without exposing too much of the album. It’ll definitely keep people’s mouths waterin’.
DJBooth: A lot of artists I’ve talked to seem to feel that Internet downloading and mixtapes are responsible for the drop in album sales, and the drop in their checking accounts, do you feel the same way?
Median: I think it all depends on what kind of artist you are and the level of quality you put out there in the world. Obviously if the mixtape is not original or creative and you give away too much that hurts, if it’s a good project it can only help. Whatever you can get out there for the people, as long as you’re being innovative and not redundant, it is always a good look. Although this mixtape has got a couple songs from the album it’s still nothing like my album as a whole. It does nothing but help me in my particular situation.
DJBooth: One of the tracks on the album is called Powershift, who has the power in hip-hop right now?
Median: The people who have the power in hip-hop are the people who have always had the power in hip-hop. In anything where you have a numbers game it comes down to the numbers. The listener has the power in hip-hop, we decide, though corporate plays a role in what we get a chance to hear if you’re lazy and not searchin’, if you’re not even into music enough to take that extra step and look at places besides radio and TV. For those who are actually seekin’ new and innovative things it’s the people who have the power, it’s the tastemakers. The people who turn you onto new stuff and support you when you do a show in their area, it’s those people. It’s always been them.
DJBooth: The people and corporations seem to be locked in this dance where corporate can push something until it becomes popular, and then look at the fact it’s popular as proof that it’s what the people want. Do you think it’s possible to break out of that loop?
Median: It is, definitely. It does hold true that the more you beat somebody over the head with something it becomes catchy whether you like it or not. I find myself singing hooks to songs I can’t stand. I’m always searching for new music and you come across your fair share of BS to get to the good stuff. As far as being able to change, we’re livin in a capitalistic society, so when good music becomes a fad again, as it has before…the reason people pay so much attention to hip-hop now and why it’s everywhere is because the market’s been set, and when it was set initially there was a good deal of good music out there. So with that being said, when good music becomes popular again capitalism will come around towards it. You can see it now, they’ll take their chance with a couple of albums. There’s never been a time when it’s all bs on the radio, when it’s all bad videos, there’s always a couple good ones. The market will fill out as people are into that type of thing.
DJBooth: Continuing on a capitalistic bent, another track on the album is called What Would You Do? So let’s think positive for a minute, let’s say Median’s Relief blows up, sells huge, you’re touring the country, you got a couple mil in the bank. What would you do?
Median: I’d continue to push, that’s what I’d do. I don’t make music for that, finance is not my first goal. I’d be lyin if I said I didn’t want to receive financial benefits from it, but when I first started making music I wasn’t getting a dime from it. I was considered dope not because money was my drive but because I had something to say. I can make good music, and I would continue to do that. It would give me more time to focus solely on music. Right now music doesn’t pay all my bills. It definitely brings money to the table but it’s kind of a supplemental income. I also own a cleaning service, so if you were in the Triangle and you needed your house cleaned I could send somebody over to take care for that for you.
DJBooth: Hey, we’ll promo your album, promo your cleaning service, we’re an all-purpose website.
Median: I’m just joking, I wouldn’t want to actually promote a cleaning service in the rap world, but I don’t mind it, it’s part of who I am.
DJBooth: On the real I think everyone can relate to that, I’ve done my fair share of waiting tables.
Median: And another thing, if I were to blow and get those millions I would invest that in my business so I could reach a larger area. Right now I’m in the Triangle, which is Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Durham, and I’d make sure I could branch out across North Carolina and other states. I would definitely reinvest it in some things I got goin’ on right now.
DJBooth: Well when you blow up big just remember DJBooth alright.
Median: No doubt.
DJBooth: Why don’t you hit people up with a MySpace or website where people can find out more about you and your music.
Median: You can find me at myspace.com/mediansrelief , you can also find the mixtape for free download there. The DJ who put it together for me is DJ Low Key, so you can find it on djlowkey.com, and 9th Wonder hosted it for me so that’s a plus. He did me a solid and I appreciate it. The label I’m on is Halftooth Records, halftooth.com, you can check out updates on me there as well.
DJBooth: Look out for Median’s Relief dropping Sept. 25, go download the mixtape. I appreciate you takin’ the time.
Median: I appreciate you givin me a shout. I’d also like to say that I appreciate the fans who’s been checkin’ for me since day one. I know Median’s Relief is a long time coming and I want to say thank you to the people who’ve been in my corner since the beginning.
DJBooth: We can provide a little relief to everyone once the album drops. Thanks man, peace.