Deniro Farrar slips into his car, seeking refuge from the North Carolina heat. He’s in the middle of a busy day, shooting three videos — for “Free Tune,” “The Calling” and “Danger” — and almost getting arrested.
“We were in this abandoned mansion and the police rolled up,” Farrar says. “They were trying to get us for marijuana and shit, this, that and the third. The life of a rapper, man.”
At 26 years old, Farrar’s been cutting out a space for himself in the rap game since 2012 with his mixtape, Destiny. altered on which one of the first lines has him separating himself from the field: “I’m not gon rhyme about how I done f*cked a million hoes.” Instead, he tells his story of leaving the streets over dreamy beats from producers he met online. “I wrote my first rap in 2010, but I always loved rap so I always felt like a rapper,” he says, qualifying his late start. With a little Internet savvy he linked with experimental electronic producers like Ryan Hemsworth, Lunice, Skywlkr and Felix Snow. Since then, he’s released four more projects, most recently The Patriarch II this June — all denouncing the evils of street life.
“I had to walk away from it,” he explains. “I could have had a transaction go wrong. I’ve been robbed before and that could’ve gone south. He could’ve killed me.” But do people look at him differently? “Just because you walk away doesn’t mean you’re a pussy. I got to say that all the time now,” he says. “People are afraid to walk away now, that’s why murder and crime is so crazy.”
Farrar seeks the authority and power of cult leaders like Charles Manson and Jim Jones, but without the suicidal themes. “It’s powerful music with a message that people are automatically drawn to,” he explains. “Off the first listen they become a fan — that’s cult rap. They really receive your message.” Farrar says it’s like Tupac, whose songs continue to make people feel something — whatever that something may be — from “California Love” to “Hey Mama.” Farrar tries to emulate that. “I’m a rapper slash ghetto politician slash cult leader. I’m not violent. I’m all about uplifting and positivity,” he says. In other words, he’s based. Farrar believes his honest lyrics are what’s missing from the rap game and lays down a rhyme through the phone, just to prove it, “Dead broke and I feel ashamed / In the couch tryna find change / Late night hunger pains / Can’t sleep thoughts like a gun range.” Farrar speaks to the listener going through similar issues, making a point to say that the pain is worth it.
Especially now that he has two kids; a four-month-old son and a three-week-old son, both born between the release The Patriarch and The Patriarch II. “This shit is so stressful. I’m broke, literally,” he says. But that hasn’t changed his positive attitude. In fact, he’s only more determined to make it. “When I look at the series of events that’s happened to me it’s like goddamn, but I’m also blessed, too, because I’m gonna make it with this rap, so that’s one thing I don’t have to worry about,” he says.
Now with the ultimate followers, his two young boys, Farrar mostly worries about doing everything in his power to keep them safe. “I used to be a reckless driver,” Farrar says. “I got cut off on my way to Target and it was the first time I had my son out of the house since he’d been born. I went crazy. I’m so glad I don’t carry a gun no more. I don’t know what the fuck I would of did.” He finishes, “It definitely changed me.”