Razor Tongue Media

John L. Asserts that through it all we still "gotta Try"

Cover for John L's new single "Gotta Try"

Its been a rough year. In all my days on this planet, I can recall no other time as challenging as this one. One thing that we can hope for is that through it all there could be significant change for the positive at the conclusion of this. Until then, the fight will go on. In the midst of all that, it’s important to try to keep our noggins pointed upward when we can. Sunnyside turned Tri-Cities transplant John L. has a message for us on that note on his newest single “Gotta Try”.

If you are not aware of John L. you could be forgiven. Coming from the small Yakima Valley market/slightly bigger but burgeoning Tri-Cities scene, it’s easy to have not heard of the MC/producer but he is definitely someone you want to get familiar with. With over a decade putting in work, John L. aka Johnny Lyrics has a stout catalog with plenty of bangers in a wide range of tones that could please fans of all types. “Gotta Try” falls under a category I feel is one of his strongest, the message song.


Message songs are tough to master. It’s easy to push yourself into cornball territory. Half a step the wrong way and you can go from say Nas’s “I Know I Can” to Black Eyed Peas “Where is the Love”. John L. understands this and knows that to be taken seriously on tracks like these you have to speak from the soul. “Gotta Try” has that in both the verbal delivery as well as the instrumental. See, John is definitely a strong MC, but he is more fierce on the boards, a technician who blends samples in over hard punching percussion and smooth keys to create that classic, raw Hip Hop sound.

This blend is what sets the canvas for “Gotta Try”, and he paints on it speaking at listeners by alternating between harmonious chopping and the more traditional delivery, a combo he has perfected over his career. Through it he encourages us to push past adversity and to keep our heads on high. The theme is solidified by him including his oldest daughter on the hook, an addition that helps the message shine through that we as adults need to strive to be the best examples for our kids that we can. It’s very tough to do that in 2020, but like the man says, we have to try.

Check out “Gotta Try” on John L.’s Bandcamp in the link below and then also make sure to peep his full length release with Chris Davis Pain and Progression which dropped earlier this year. It’s super dope and we have also linked to it below.


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