EP Review | Teller Bank$ – The Big Lebowskiii: The Story of Eastside Jesus

This extended play was released on January 23rd this year. Obviously if you follow this blog you know that I’m a big fan of Teller Bank$. I don’t think there’s been a single year since I discovered him that he hasn’t shown up on my year end list. In fact, his project with Ed Glorious last year was so good that it was my number one album of 2022. This project in particular is a little different because it’s fully self-produced. That’s not really a surprise for me personally because I’ve heard Teller Bank$’s production in the past on projects like The Pen for Whom the Sword Moves and The Real Skull Face. I will be shocked if I don’t end up enjoying this project to some extent, despite having a very undeveloped idea of what it will sound like. Teller Bank$ is just too talented of an artist for me to not be able to at least see what he’s attempting to go for, so I have faith that this will be one of the better extended plays of the year.

The project begins with the title track, The Big Lebowskiii. I really love how smooth and tranquil the production on this track is. Teller of course rapped incredibly well over it too.

Seen bitterness transform into wickedness
Power is addictive, we all addicted to the benefits
Nobody immune, hard not to be consumed
Who wouldn't wanna be the moon when you seen the stars fall?
Hard falls, back and forth with landlords playin' hard ball
Made it through the landmines where every step was crucial
And rent through the roof, and it's due too, so every year you move
And get a new view, lookin' for specials on the move in
And what you can afford don't ever suit you
So I suited up, booted up, and learned to shoot too
Made myself a soldier, always looking over shoulders
Molded by my lonely moments, trapped inside my paranoia

The verse just gets better and better. You know, this was my least favorite track on the project on my first listen, but upon further listens I think it’s even better than I originally thought. I mean, don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I didn’t like the song at first. I always thought it was good. I think it’s really awesome now though. The song just grew on me a little bit, that’s all. I think the production is great, and Teller Bank$’s rapping had me hooked. He killed this shit. The song’s dope as hell. The following track is called Knights of the Round, and it’s even better. The piano-driven production here is pretty fucking awesome, and I love Teller’s melodic vocal delivery over it. I’m gonna be honest… On my first listen of this project, when I got to this track I said to myself, “Alright, this is probably gonna end up as my favorite track on the whole EP.” That didn’t end up being the case though. It’s not that this song isn’t as incredible as I initially thought; it’s just that there are a couple other tracks that I like even more than this one. This shit is fire though. The instrumental is boiling hot fire, and Teller killed it. Especially that last verse.

I been flippin' them quarter pounders like
Kenan, Kel, this the good burger
When the grass growin' hope they see the surface
Fuck this rap shit, this shit feel like the circus
All this clown shit, I'll leave it at the circus
I be ready to hurt niggas offa nothin'
To hurt niggas, I feel nothin'
Worthless so it's nothin' to burst in somebody's crib
And leave 'em with nothin'

This song really stood out to me on my first listen, and I still really love it. I get that some people may be turned off by the melodic vocal delivery, but I think it’s really well executed here. I don’t normally like it when rappers such as Roddy Ricch or Lil Baby do that, but for some reason it sounds less robotic and more natural when Teller Bank$ does it. Anyway, I think this song is dope as hell. The next track is another highlight called Tombstone. This instrumental right here really blew me the fuck away when I first listened to this project. It’s the darkest beat on the album, and it’s weird as hell. I think it’s fucking incredible though. It might just be the best beat I’ve heard this year. I don’t know. This is a really well produced project in general, so it’s hard to say that this beat in particular is the best. I fucking love it though. I love how hard the lyricism here is too, and the way Teller’s vocal delivery kind of escalates in terms of aggression as the verse progresses is really fucking nice. The song is dope as hell. I love it. The following track is even better though. It’s called Baker’s Pan, and it’s fucking incredible. It might actually be the best song I’ve heard in 2023 so far. I mean, to be fair I am very behind on music releases, so I’m not sure how long this song will be on that throne, but for now I think it’s the best I’ve heard. The production here is absolutely glorious. I feel like Cloud Envy would fit over this beat beautifully. There are a shit ton of instruments present in the mix here, and the vocal sample that eventually comes in is fucking perfect. It’s a really layered & detailed instrumental. I love it. Amazing. I can’t praise it enough. Teller of course slaughtered the verses here too. The melodic hook is really catchy too. That closing verse is definitely the best part of the song though. This shit just gets better and better as it progresses, man. The fucking flow and vocal delivery on this verse are absolutely stunning. I love it.

It's like a curse, I can't lie in my verses
It's like a urge to put opps all in hearses
Post say it's urgent, 'bout a missin' person
Wrist in the pot, bubblin' dish detergent
I switched my purpose on purpose, made better purchases
I seen the serpents, they lurkin', and dug up to the surface
Seen niggas turnin' from workers churnin' out worthlessness
If I send him, he gone, know that for certain sense
My batting average is perfect, swingin' out for the fence

Literally every aspect of this song is incredibly well done in my opinion. I love the production, and Teller floated over it beautifully. I live for this shit. It’s dope as fuck, and easily one of the best songs of the year. Track 5 is called blue. Once again, I was blown away the production. I love the primary guitar loop, and the percussion that fades in sounds fantastic to me. I love the somber lyricism too.

I made a mess of myself, I made a mess of my life
I got the best of myself, pain got the best of me twice
Family had split into twos, I double down in my vice
I grew up flags to the left, hard to tell wrong from my rights

I really like his flow on this track, and his solemn delivery matches the tone of the production and lyricism really well. This song is really pretty. The beat actually kinda sounds like something Sadistik could rhyme over. That would be tight. Anyway, the song is just one verse, but it’s really well written and performed. I think this track is dope as hell. The penultimate track is called Shell Cases, and, once again, I was very impressed by the production. The luxurious instrumental here sounds like a really great beat that Rick Ross would try to rhyme over. I love the melodic hook, and the writing on the actual verse is great.

I been detached from the world, sorry, I ain't been no good friend
I been detached from myself, I been reflecting on sins
I been reflecting on losses, they seem way bigger than wins
I been the same way regardless, I'd trade it all for a cleanse
I'd trade it all to trade places, I'd trade me changing for changes
I stayed the same, some things changed, traded my freedom for chains
I chained myself to the game, I'd trade it all for some healin'
Ain't found no meaning in pain, ain't no redeemin' my demons

The flow is smooth as hell. Once again, I am just really impressed by the production, and Teller sounds right at home over it. I think this song is dope as hell. The closing track is a major highlight entitled Donny’s Ashes. This is another one of the best songs of the year to me, and quite possibly the best song on this project. The soft production is ridiculously beautiful. I fucking adore this beat. The song’s only a minute and 51 seconds long, so I was worried that it would sound kind of scant, but that isn’t the case at all. The whole track is just one long verse, and it’s fire. It’s incredibly personal. The tone of the writing matches that of the production really well. Honestly, everything about this song is fucking beautiful. I don’t know what I’m more entranced by between the production and the writing. This is probably the best song I’ve heard in 2023. I can’t praise it enough. Goddamn. This shit makes me wanna shed a tear.

I can't feel my feelings, I can't feel myself, can't feel at all
I can't heal my feelings, I can't heal myself, can't heal at all
Sometimes I hurt myself so they don't hurt me first, I hurt 'em all
Feel like it hurt me worse to get my lick back, I get 'em off
Feel like my life was cursed 'cause I ain't catch no breaks, went through it all
Hard to say I made it, seein' how it changed me from before
I seen love turn into hatred, another casualty of war
I seen the sacred get forsaken, same stories from before

The song is dope as fuck.

This project is amazing. This shit is just as fire as Teller’s latest album with Ed Glorious honestly. This is one of the best EPs I’ve heard in years. I kind of can’t believe how good Teller Bank$’s production here is. I mean, I enjoyed his beats on the previous projects that I’d heard from him, but this is the first time I’ve been really blown away by his instrumentals, ya know what I mean? Shit, I can’t remember the last time a project had me reacting like this. I’m usually really boring when I listen to music, but this shit had me excited. There’s not a single track on this project that I don’t love. Every single song blew me away to some extent. I wasn’t expecting to love a project this much this early on in the year, but this shit really started the year off right for me. This is the best shit I’ve heard in 2023. Don’t sleep on it. It’s dope as fuck.

Favorite Song: Donny’s Ashes
Least Favorite Song: Shell Cases


Grade: A

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