Don’t Sleep | Teller Bank$ – The Grotesque & Beautiful

Don’t sleep on this latest record from Teller Bank$. It was released on October 11th in 2020, and I’ve been taking a page out of The Company Man’s book by punching myself in the face for not reviewing it. It’s one of the better albums I heard in 2020 so I had to give it some shine here. I was first introduced to Teller Bank$ on SeKwence‘s BLOOM album, and I was blown away by his performance. Ever since then, every feature I’ve heard from him has amazed me. Another one that I highly recommend is his verse on Victory Laps by Iceberg Theory. Anyway, since this isn’t really a full review I’m just gonna talk about some highlights rather than every single track, but it should be noted that there’s not a single song on the album that I don’t fuck with. Every song is produced by Ed Glorious.


The album starts off with a major highlight entitled Suicide Hotline 3. This was my first time listening to a project from Teller Bank$, so I’ve never heard either of the first two songs in his Suicide Hotline series, but it’s not like it’s a narrative being continued or anything, so I wasn’t lost. It’s just him rapping about his suicidal thoughts and feelings of worthlessness. Needless to say, I seriously related to this shit. The soulful production from Ed is absolutely gorgeous, and Bank$’s voice fits over it perfectly. He’s just spilling his fucking veins all over this track too. It’s kinda beautiful in a fucked up way. Just getting that level of vulnerability is really special in my opinion. It sucks that he had to feel that way to make a song like this, but this is the kinda shit that makes me feel less alone when I’m in that situation, ya know?

It feel like the walls startin' to close on me
I can't really remember the last time I ain't feel lonely
Surrounded by people, surrounded by demons
With evil intentions that be so relentin'

The content of this song can pretty much be summed up by “fuck everything.” This is really how shit gets, man. I feel it. This song was my life. It be like that. It’s been like that most of my life. I’m so glad it ain’t like that now. But it do get like that. So yeah, as you can see, the song really resonated with me. I think it’s amazing.

Lately I been feelin' like I failed as a father, I failed as a partner
I failed as a brother, I failed as a son
I'm a terrible friend, I'm failin' again
I'm fallin' again, I'm bothered again
I've noticed that the higher I climb, the further I fall
But I'm still in the dark
Still ain't forgive myself yet, I oughta give it to God
I got scars that I ain't never show nobody at all

It’s easily one of my favorites on the album. Another highlight I wanna mention is called The Way Home. Once again, Ed Glorious’ soulful production here sounds absolutely gorgeous. It sounds really comforting to me, like a healing hug in the form of music. Teller Bank$ has a pretty strange voice to me, but in a good way, and I think his singing sounds great over this beat. The closest comparison I can think of right now is ICECOLDBISHOP, but it’s not exactly the same. Anyway, there’s only really one verse on this song, but it’s sandwiched between a super catchy hook. I love the concept of this song too. He’s basically rapping about his death and moving on into heaven.

This sound like kingdom comin'
Heavenly bells ringin'
I heard the lord singin'
I felt the arms reachin' around me
The palm leaves at my feet
The sweet aroma of home, of everything that I loaned
Of everything that I know now
Now that my body gone and my soul can move on

It’s a really beautiful song, not only due to the pretty lyricism, but also the warm production. It definitely sounds like home, so that’s dope. I think the song is dope af. It’s followed by Paul Bearer, which is another highlight for me. Once again, the production here is pretty and soulful. Bank$’s flow feels a bit more energetic here. He honestly really spazzed out on this track. The song’s only 90 seconds in total, but he goes harder here than he did on either of the two aforementioned tracks. His vocal tone is just as reserved as it was before, but his cadence and rhymes are just more urgent.

The sum of all my parts is greater than they can add
I added and subtracted, made magic with mathematics
This is wrappin' and shippin' packages
Rappin' and shippin' packages
Nothing happen by accident
Rather win with an asterisk than lose fairly
I'll knock a sweet nigga's teeth out, he a tooth fairy
All the nightmares I survived might be too scary

It kinda feels like an interlude due to its length, but what’s here is so good that I can’t help but love it. The song’s dope as hell. The next track I wanna talk about is called Clumsy. As SOON as this motherfucker started rapping on this song I got the coveted involuntary headnod IN ADDITION to the legendary stank face.

His flow over this beat is catchier than motherfuck. The way the autotune eventually comes in actually sounds really awesome too. I wasn’t expecting that, and I typically don’t like that style, but the way he did it here just sounded really cool. My issue with people like Roddy Ricch doing it is that it just gets old really quickly, but it’s not like it’s Teller Bank$’s only gimmick. It was just a nice touch he added to give the song some extra flair. I think it sounds awesome. The way the beat switches up after about 90 seconds is really fantastic too, and I love how his vocal tone gets a bit higher pitched at this point. This track needs a music video. I feel like this has the most potential to be a hit out of anything on the album, but I have no idea what mainstream trend-following audiences want so I might be full of shit. I love it though. The song’s dope as hell. The next major highlight for me is called Pride of the Fallen. Teller Bank$’s melodic “ayooooo” ad-lib always gets stuck in my head whenever I listen to him. That shit will probably never get old for me. Once again, the sung hook is really nice, and the vulnerability in his lyrics really resonated with me.

Never forget it, they passed on 'em
Havin' visions, wishin' a nigga had fast forward
Kids is the only thing I don't need any more of
All my kids are so glorious, miracles
Reason why I'm so spiritual
Reason why I'm so critical
Of myself as an individual
Drown in a swimming pool
Of liquor every time my old thing got sick of a nigga
But she still sticked with a nigga
Been through the thick with a nigga
Left in the thin of it, nigga

The song is just super smooth and melodic and warm sounding. It sounds like a sunset. I love it. It’s dope as hell. It’s followed by The Orphan, which I think is an amazing song. It’s definitely one of my favorites on the album. Ed Glorious’ production is… glorious. The storytelling here is masterfully done. His flow is fucking crazy here too. There’s deadass nothing about this song that isn’t flawlessly executed in my opinion. I almost don’t know what to say about it because I don’t wanna spoil anything about it. I just want y’all to listen to it because it’s fucking amazing. It’s followed by The Weight, which I actually think is even better. I’m absolutely in love with Ed’s dark production here. It sounds like something that ScHoolboy Q might have rapped over during the Oxymoron era. Once again, the content is super dark and personal. It almost sounded like he was shedding tears in the booth as he was spitting. His flow was still crazy though, and his delivery sounds way more emotional than it does anywhere else on the album. There’s no percussion on this track, which I think is a good thing. The lack of drums helps to maintain a meditative tone. Once again, I don’t wanna spoil any of the lyrics, but just know that the writing, delivery, and flow are all top notch. The song is amazing. The penultimate track is another highlight entitled The Cycle. The production here is still very soulful, which I love, and Bank$’s melodic hook sounds perfect over it. The content is still very dark here too.

Yo, I been feelin' devoid
Been avoiding eye contact
In a contention, can't vent, and seen the potential
But I'm slippin, if I missed you I doubt that I'd call back
Now what do I call that?

There’s only one verse here, but it’s super well written, and the execution is flawless. The song is kinda short, but I don’t even really care. If I’m being real I don’t have any gripes with the song. I think it’s dope af. The closing track is another major highlight too. The production here kinda reminds me of something Apollo Brown would make. It feels a bit more energetic than a lot of the other beats, but it’s still super soulful. Bank$ of course bodied it too.

Niggas said they want that old Teller back
The old Teller back
My closest homies had the knives that put the holes in my back
I almost relapsed
I know I'm prone to overreact
I had to detach
Show me you were holding me back
Never show me back the grace that I had granted
I was solid as granite
Them niggas took me for granted

I think this song is an amazing outro. It’s one of those songs that would’ve worked as an intro or an outro, but I think it’s nice that he left the album on kind of an upbeat, more determined, confident note. I love it. The song is fire.


This album is dope as hell. I’m really glad that I finally got around to covering it even if I couldn’t do a full review. I just wanna make sure none of you guys sleep on this because Teller Bank$ is one of the most exciting artists in the underground right now in my opinion. Ed Glorious’ soulful production here is absolutely stellar, and Teller Bank$ has everything I could want in an artist: a unique voice, a great flow, the ability to write super well crafted verses—not only in terms of the content, but from a technical standpoint as well—a knack for coming up with catchy hooks, and even a likable signature ad-lib. This is me telling you that you need to hear this album. You’re fucking up if you sleep on this. I think it’s a really great album. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Favorite Song: The Weight
Least Favorite Song: Won’t Testify

89

Grade: A-

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