North Carolina’s finest is just getting started.
“Money don’t make you real my nigga,” spits the unequivocal Deniro Farrar on the opening track of his latest EP, ‘Rebirth’. “That lifestyle promoted on billboards radio commercials, it’s just another trap to keep the poor, poor and the rich, rich” he explains. Those in the rap world whose subject matter holds a materialistic core, vanity being the fulfilment. “It’s all a game, the music industry is full of broke-rich people promoting vanity and still struggling,” he states. Money doesn’t make you real, but it’s a requirement when it’s all on the table for your family, “With my signing advance check, I bought a car seat for my oldest son.”
Providing for his two boys is always his primary focus, and our interview was brought to a halt when his son suddenly rose from a slumber during our conversation. “Kaidyn bit another girl at school today, I’m on my way to have a man-to-man talk with him!” Fitting into the role of a father doing his best by his sons, he admits “It’s made me a lot more focused, It’s hard because they’re such a big part of my life but I know it’s best, I’ll be able to take care of them,” he explains. As one of seven himself, he understands the importance of looking after his bloodline.
When Deniro was known as Dante Qushawan Farrar in his younger years, it was the emotive, angry flow of DMX and Tupac that caught his ears, teaching him the blueprints of the genre. A freestyle smoke-out session turned into one of the “dopest” tracks he ever penned, ‘In The Ghetto’.
Fast forward four years and a record deal with Vice/ Warner Brothers, it’s clear he’s come a long way from North Carolina. As Tupac was a notable presence then, Deniro’s lyrics hold a similar integrity, with both unafraid to shy away from struggle and pain within their music. Both have discussed their mothers’ addictions, Farrar on his ‘DESTINY.altered’ release, which became his own form of therapy, “confessional minus the church.” On ‘Notice’, he shares his admiration for matriarch, holding both determination and strength. Continuing on his bold delivery throughout ‘Rebirth’, his approach to recording this gritty, to-the-bone release was one of acceptance, “To air out all of [his] dirty laundry, no secrets, no more looking back, the past is the past now.” Unafraid to reveal uncensored trials and tribulations, he reveals; ‘My uncle a fucking alcoholic/ Can’t even eat unless he got a bottle.’ He represents what is often a reality untouched by the limelight rappers who are detached from the youth with an image to uphold.
Though Charlotte, North Carolina is home to pop-friendly outputs like J.Cole, Farrar’s surroundings characterised another side of the city. “[Growing up in NC] affected my music drastically, my life wouldn’t be the same had I not grew up there. I might be a college student, who knows? But I can guarantee that I’d be rapping about different things,” he explains. Making ends meet before he even constructed his first mixtape, the worst job he ever enrolled in involved the institutional T.G.I. Friday’s, “because I would have to seat all of [these] people I knew from my city,” he begins, “I remember asking Kendrick [Lamar] how he deals with people from his city acting like he owes them something, due to the fact he may know them. He told me it comes with the game and people will pull at you from so many ways, you have to be strong enough to stay at the top. That’s how I deal with buckets of crabs; becoming successful and managing to remain on top.”
This is an extract from the Autumn/Winter14 Issue of Viper Magazine. Read more from the magazine here. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Words by Leah Connolly
Photography by Jessica Lehrman