Medida: hip-hop for the people

Reid Stratton

Last Saturday Medida, a Minneapolis group that “spins socially conscious lyrics and performs spoken word” played in the Underground Coffeehouse. The concert was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the multicultural affairs committee.
The group, composed of rappers Yoni, Dessa, and Omar, aided by DJ Ronin, performed for about an hour. They used a wide variety of formats, including free-styling and unaccompanied spoken poems reminiscent of a dramatic monologue. Dessa performed a monologue about violence in her life as a Puerto Rican-American. Omar performed a spoken word piece that takes place in a coffee shop and follows a stream of thought that mostly dwells on a failed relationship/
Of the trio of rappers, Yoni was clearly the most gifted free-styler. Besides coming up with an endless stream of sick rhymes, Yoni also has an album in the works. Titled “Now That’s What I Call Copyright Infringement,” it’s an homage to the rappers that have most influenced him. On the album he uses the exact same beats as some of his favorite songs and creates his own lyrics, which still rhyme with the corresponding lyrics from the original song.
During the course of the performance Medida faced the daunting task of trying to please a small and generally uninspired audience. They tried a few tricks, like call and response with the audience (‘I say “Oh,” you say “Kee-do-kee”‘) and some self-deprecating humor, but the audience remained generally lifeless. Still, Medida can be commended for maintaining a consistently fun demeanor.
The beats, on the other hand, were consistently very chill, with simple rhythms. This was a real asset to the group as a whole, as it both set the mood for the heavy lyrics and kept itself out of the way so that, in theory, the rappers could be heard. In practice, however, the lyrics were very difficult to understand. The beats were too loud and the sound too booming, so that only about a third of the lyrics were intelligible. For a group that markets itself by its important lyrics, this was a disappointing outcome. Maybe next time, Medida.