Albums/Mixtapes, Features, Reviews

Review: John Teller harnesses self strength on “Recognize The Power” EP

There is something special about a person who knows themselves to the core. This may seem like a given trait for everyone walking this earth but that simply just is not the case. Often times, particularly in a day and age of the internet era, people can look at those they admire and emulate what they see. It’s when this happens that people start to act and do things that are far from their true character.

Now of course we all take inspiration from others. Being influenced isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it’s when that influence becomes more of a mimicking act that the problem arises. We all have a power within ourselves to do great things and create positive change on this earth. That cannot be done without becoming in-tune with oneself and moving accordingly though.

This particular theme of self-awareness is one that has been prominent in music throughout time. More recently, Baton Rouge’s own John Teller is the latest to use the topic to drive his music. On his new project “Recognize The Power”, he deep dives into it all with hopes of inspiring the next man or woman to find their own inner peace and use it for good.

“My goal for this project was to show myself the growth I’ve made from my last go around with music. People I considered friends didnt think I was serious, I cared too much about what other people thinked. I literally “Recognized The Power” within myself. I know I can do anything I put my mind to, it’s all about believing and working hard.”

John Teller’s 5-track opus starts about as melancholy and clear as can be. Very sparse production slowly builds anticipation for about 45 seconds before we hear his verse for the first time. When the vocals finally come John rhymes with a sense of urgency and purpose. On a project all about knowledge of self he takes the time out to state how the opinions of others, especially false opinions, have an effect on this knowledge coming to fruition.

“I can’t stand when they lying me, but saying nothing when my eyes can see.” This line from the hook is a fine summary of where his head is on the track. Focused on himself and being not only the best MC he can be but also the best man in general. As an intro “Lying On Me” serves it’s purpose as a tone setter for what is to come.

On the next record we get another somber start as John Teller kicks things off with some spoken word. I won’t go into what was said word for word because you need ro hear it for self. What I took from the message though is to find the real you even in the midst of your downfalls.

As we get into the actual rap portion of “Right Turns” we get more of an exponential view of what was stated in the monologue leading the song off. Here he drops bars about how his own personal failures have helped to shape him into a better person today. “Running from the cops, the charges I caught. Changed me into a man and they told me to stop. Work with what I got keeping my head at the top.” It’s a coming of age track and lyrics like these help to let that fact shine.

Track 3 is also the title track so it instantly came with higher expectations for me. I’ve always felt as though a title track must do a proper job of encompassing what a project is supposed to represent at it’s core. This being said I feel rappers can often miss their mark when it comes to this.

John Teller hits his mark on “Recognize The Power”. The melodic piano keys that drive the beat make for a perfect home for John’s style of rhyme. This one feels like a vent session at times but I do feel as though that is a good thing for a record that is based on being so much about the artist rather than trying to relate to others. I’m not sure if it is the case but I would bet that this song was one of the easier for him to record during the EP sessions based on the energy of it.

Next up is another song that is heavily piano driven in “Got It Like”. This one carries more of the heartfelt content brought throughout the process but packaged a bit differently. There is more of a bounce here and a familiar, easy to recite chorus. In terms of performance songs I believe this is probably one of the best fits for such an audience. It also leads perfectly into the outro track, “Till I’m Dead”.

“Till I’m Dead” is my personal favorite of all the tracks on the “Recognize The Power” EP. The beat contains a boom-bap feel with a soul-sample that is just sweet. John Teller feels more like the rap of the 90’s and earlier generations so to hear him on this style of beat was a good luck. Furthermore he brings more of a feel-good vibe of hopefulness that others will be able to recognize their inner powers just as he has. Out of the tracks presented on the EP this one was the best pick for ending the set so I can understand why it was picked.

In summary, John Teller puts together a very cohesive and well articulated vision on “Recognize The Power”. He is able to do his desired of job of spreading the message of knowing oneself while also keeping the music an interesting listen. It never really comes off as if he is preaching or being overbearing on the listener as well which is a great thing. My lone critic is that a lot of the production could be stronger in my opinion. Other than that John shines lyrically, crafting a meaningful project that is well worth a spin.

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