If you follow the underground hip hop circles it’s a known fact Teller Banks is one of the dopest & most consistent artists out right now.
He has already blessed us with dope songs such as Geometry, Redemption, & Herdin Cats to name a few.
This past Monday Teller dropped a new album entitled “The Called & Chosen” check it out via Bandcamp. In the mean time enjoy this introduction to the rapper & the person behind the music.
1.) How did you get the name Teller Banks?
( TB ) I actually had got caught up in some stuff and had to disassociate with the name I had been runnin with, Teller Banks actually came from NCAA 14, it was a player I’d always make on any football game I’d play. I’d end up makin a Teller Banks every time.
2.) What inspired you to want to rap?
(TB) My parents were always into music I grew up on the roots and OutKast so rap was always something I was into, I was more like a scholar at first- I really studied the culture and the history since I was young. I didn’t really have thoughts about rappin myself, I sang and played the saxophone growin up so I knew music theory and all that. One day I’m sittin outside the connect spot (RIP) and I just started freestylin and I asked my brothers like yo is this it? They said yea so I ran with it.
3.) How does It feel when you hear your music being played by a legend like DJ Muggs?
(TB) It’s crazy. I been rappin a long time lowkey and especially with how everything went down under my last name a lot of it felt like it was for nothing, but shit like this is stuff I used to legit pray for so it keeps me in a good perspective. I get so focused on where I’m trying to get that rarely look at how far I’ve actually came and stuff like the Soul Assassins radio run really helps me step back and appreciate the progress I’ve made.
4.) Who are some artists you haven’t worked with yet but look forward to working with?
(TB) Honestly outside of the Griselda folks it’s hard to say. It’s so many dudes lowkey I’ve already worked with a lot of my favorite folks or at least been in conversation with em about a collaboration. On a production level I’d love to work with Kali Uchis or SZA.
5.) In 2019 you released 3 albums thus far with one on the way still. Would you say it’s been a great year for you musically?
(TB) Lowkey I did 4 but Rose Tinted Mirrors isn’t available anymore unless you bought it, it came out the same day as The True & Living. I feel real good about everything that’s happened so far this year it’s been great, I stopped workin 9/30/19 and started really doin music full time in February, since then I’ve recorded 9 albums, 4 self produced, been doin my own mixing and mastering as well. It’s nice to be in full control of how much I can really do.
6.) What advice would you give new indie artists coming up?
(TB) Man there’s a lot of advice I’d love to give but I’d say the 2 biggest things in my eyes are: 1) sell something. Anything. 2) Don’t ask for support, support yourself. I see a lot of folks that are dope that don’t have one thing I can pay them directly for. 50 fans don’t feel like nothin when it’s all streams, but 20 shirts and 20 CDs sales is something you can legitimately feel good about. On the second part, folks are more likely to help you out if they see you pushin by yourself than if they see you tryna flag down every car passing by.
7.) Who are some artists you’ve been compared to? ( I think your voice reminds me of Kendrick but you have your own style)
(TB) Man I hate damn near every comparison I get haha but I’ve gotten Kendrick, JID, Meechie from Flatbush. I appreciate the gesture behind it, but in my head if I “sound like _____” that mean I’m underneath them in a way and I don’t like that. Only one I ever appreciated was bein called the Andre 3000 of Denver, but If somebody ever compared me to Jay Electronica or Skyzoo I’d take it.
8.) How much thought do you put into your album titles because they all seem meaningful example “The True & The Living” “The Damned” & “A Sirius Man”
(TB) A lot of thought and planning goes into it. If you go back to Hellfire & Brimstone you’ll hear me rap about The Called & Chosen. All the projects I do with Blaq are part of one sonic universe and all joints I do self produced go into another. I treat the series me an Blaq are doin like sermons, it might not go chronologically per say but the lessons are in proper order. They match up with the stage of my journey I feel I’m on. The Damned with Farma Beats i was like a prequel spinoff- if you listen close it’s all about my past, it’s real retrospective. All my self produced joints are titled after movies. Tarantino and Coen Bros movies (right now). The concepts around those are more sonically tied together than content themed
9.) How would you describe coming up in Iowa for a rap artist?
(TB) I’ve only been out here for a few years, but this is where my career as an artist really took form. The dudes I was runnin with in Denver were never serious about what I was tryna do or rally behind me and I’ve known them my whole life- they’ve always known how special and gifted I am. As soon as I met my brother Bill he put more support behind me than I’ve ever had in music and having somebody actually care, actually get excited about my talent and potential really did a lot for me. I was on a bad path, Des Moines and Bill(B. Well) in particular saved my life. My mom will tell you the same.
10.) Tell us about the hat you usually rock an what is the significance behind it?
(TB) Ahh mayne, straw hats are a must for the summer haha I’m from Denver originally but my grandpa from the south and he work outside he always had one, but really I had dream when I was like 18 that I was performin, I had on the wife beater and a straw hat and it was like the prototype of who I was supposed to be so I went out and got one.