After listening to Shad name-drop Medeiros on his new album and reading that he is currently in the studio working on a new album, I’ve decided to add a “Better Late Than Never” review to this site.

Mr. J. Medeiros got started with overlooked group The Procussions in the early 2000s. When the Colorado Springs-based outfit called disbanded in 2006, Medeiros kept recording as a solo artist. Now on his third release, he moves forward with hip hop that is both accessible and progressive.

Medeiros is a politically minded lyricist. He’s very active outside of his music career as well, helping organizations like Americorps and the Peace Corps and starting his own campaign against human trafficking. This comes through in the music, where he often addresses subject matter that will prompt discussion after the song is over. On this album, there is a lot of discussion of violence, whether it be in the media, the domestic sphere, or the streets.

Musically, Medeiros is a little hard to pin down. Working with Stro the 89th Key, each track brings something different to the table, but as you go along, the pieces cohere. The opening track, “Children,” is a bit of a late ‘90s R&B/hip hop joint, with Tara Ellis singing a chorus that calls for love and understanding between family members. This is followed by “Last Stars,” which has pulsing beat and string samples that bring in elements of house music to the album. On “My Own,” we get a minimalist funky shuffle with a sing-along chorus that sounds straight-up West Coast. The only song that really doesn’t fit is “Holding On,” a song that features heavily processed vocals from Ellis and an odd piano line in a chorus that negatively recalls Evanescence. But it’s the only part that feels out of place, as the rest of this eclectic work comes together.

Medeiros is a talented emcee and producer. He can make an album that reconciles a wide range of musical influences. He also has a mind and heart for social justice and realizes the political potential of his music. Hopefully his smart, politically aware rhymes will stir his listeners to action.