(AllHipHop Interviews) Charlotte, North Carolina native Deniro Farrar has taken 2013 by storm. After grabbing the attention of many observers in the industry with his mixtape The Patriarch in March, the leader of the “Cult Rap” movement found himself opening for Kendrick Lamar.
Farrar returned just three months later with The Patriarch II. The 13-track free album is a grander extension of the unconventional soundscape and street reality themes revealed in its predecessor. It also serves as Farrar’s personal dedication to his younger brother Tony (aka Tune) who was arrested earlier this year.
Deniro says he has “always felt different from everyone else” since childhood, and at 26 his brand of Hip Hop still reflects that desire to not walk in step with his rap peers. AllHipHop.com spoke with Deniro to ask him about his motivations, how he feels about the mainstream rap scene, whether he will be signing on the dotted line at a major label, and what exactly is Cult Rap.
AllHipHop: Can you explain the idea behind “Cult Rap?”
Deniro Farrar: Cult Rap is basically rap that is not forced upon anybody. Everybody organically comes to it like a cult. When I was reading up on Charles Manson and Jim Jones, I never heard about them going out and recruiting followers. Everybody came to them organically. That’s how it is with the music I’m making. It’s not on the radio. Even though I have an internet presence, internet music isn’t forced upon you. With radio you get in the car and play it, and you have the option to change the station, but 9 times out of 10 with Hip Hop you change the station and they’re playing the same song. It’s just organic music with an organic fan base. It’s just that really, really strong music with a message.
You recently dropped your second mixtape this year. What motivates you to record and release so much free music?
The music that I hear on the regular. It’s garbage. I know what I want to hear as a consumer. I want the social commentary in the records. I don’t hear that anymore.
I’ve read that you write about 4-5 songs every day. How often do you flesh those writings out into full recordings?
Honestly, I haven’t even been recording lately. The songs are just piling up. For the last week and a half I haven’t really been writing music like that. I got so much going on. I just got to get back to my creative space. Right now, I haven’t even been doing my 4 songs a day ritual which I’m going to get back to. All the songs I’ve been writing they’re just piled up waiting to be recorded. I recorded when I was in Toronto. I did a song with Rich Kidd. I recorded this one other track produced by Hot Sugar when I was in Toronto.
What about the song that’s suppose to be coming out with you, Spadez, and Riff Raff?
That’s old some old sh*t. It’s like more than two years old. My boy Spadez, I use to come to New York a lot, and he always got beats for me like, “yo, I got this crazy track with Riff Raff I just want to get you on it.” I’m like, “alright, cool.” I had already met Riff Raff in Austin, Texas at [the] South By South West [Festival]. He’s a cool dude. Real down to the earth. We were walking the streets talking and everything. At this time he was talking to me like he know who I was, but I knew he didn’t know who I was. My internet presence wasn’t as heavy as it is right now. But, [Spadez] sent the record, and I listened to it and just freestyled a verse for it. He hit me up like three weeks ago like, “yo, I want to drop that Riff Raff track.” I was like, “alright.” I didn’t say no crazy, out-of-the-way, wacky sh*t. He can it put out. I’m not ashamed of anything I recorded.
Your choice of production includes elements of R&B, Dupstep, Rock, and Hip Hop. How did you get introduced to so many different sounds?
It was with my last management situation. I was dealing with some other people that actually introduced me to the sound, but I was so open-minded as a rapper that I just took the sound and adapted to it and created what you hear today. The producers really helped me to brand my style and that really unique aspect that people hear in my music. They brought me a few producers with a similar sound, and I just took it and ran with it. I started to listen to different producers that had mastered that type of sound even better, and I started working with them. To this day I still find new producers all the time. I have new producers send beats that I’ve written to that nobody’s ever heard of. They send beats to my e-mail that’s really dope. The sound I have going nobody else has.
You mention your brother Tune a lot in your music. How has he influenced you musically?
He’s influenced all of my music. He influenced all of Patriarch II. There isn’t a song on Patriarch II that I don’t at least say “Free Tune” whether it’s in a rhyme or an opening ad lib. He influenced everything. He’s all of my motivation for my new mixtape. They took him away from me. He’s incarcerated right now in Charlotte, North Carolina. I use to have him with me everyday. He was motivation then, because he was telling my I was the dopest before a lot of n*ggas even jumped on board. Before I started getting interviewed, before I started hitting these blogs. So to have a big part of my support system locked up is crazy. When I get him free I’m going to go crazy. I’m going to turn up some more. I’m going to break the knob when they let my little brother out. He’ll be out soon though.
Can you explain the concept for the first Patriarch cover art and why you went in a different direction for the sequel?
The first Patriarch was like that first unplanned child. The second Patriarch was like, “okay, let’s make a baby. F*ck it.” The first one was more so left field. My videographer came up with the whole concept to use the Darth Vader/Pope type of guy. Shout out to Anthony Supreme. I just took the idea tweaked it, added my sh*t, and basically everybody gives me all the credit for it. He really came up with the shell of it, and I just took it and made it to what you see.
He tried to go the same route for part two, but I was like, “Nah man. Let’s give them something different. Something plain.” Everybody going with this black and gold sh*t. Even Kanye, J. Cole’s album. Everybody’s going really plain now. I was like, “F*ck it. Let’s just put the roman numeral two, and that’s it.” We don’t really put too much thought into it. It just looks like we do. I feel like the more thought you put into it, the less organic it’s going to look. Some of these n*ggas’ album covers look like they trying too hard. We want it to look like we tried hard, but we didn’t.
I didn’t want the album cover to get all the attention. I wanted to hit them with something simple, but then some over the top type music. I felt like the Patriarch I cover art got a lot of attention. I wanted the music to get all the attention. I wanted the music to get the attention this time, so we went with as plain as we can go and put out the dopest music to go with it.
You’ve been critical of mainstream rap. Do you think the mainstream will ever fully embrace artists who aren’t necessarily following the latest trends again?
They stealing that sh*t from the underground n*ggas. These mainstream n*ggas stealing sh*t. The best music is the underground sh*t. The mainstream n*ggas stealing styles. The see where rap is going. If I’m already that dude, ain’t nobody going to hear this underground n*gga that I fell in love with his style. That’s why you hear these rappers jumping on remixes to songs with some artist that nobody really never heard of or got that one hit. They’re so fascinated with the song, because it’s something different. They’re like, “F*ck, I want to get on the remix and rap similar to how they rap, but I want to put my own words to it.” I hear that sh*t on everybody’s remix. These major label artists do a remix, they sound just like the artist whoever song it is. These mainstream n*ggas corny.
I’m going to go mainstream one day, but I’m going to go mainstream with this sh*t I’m rapping right now. I feel like the mainstream is missing this. They trying to push this out of the mainstream. When I use to listen to the radio when I was young I use to listen to sh*t that made you think. Goodie Mob was telling people, “You better get up, get out, and get something. Don’t waste all your time trying to get high.”
Now, these n*ggas are telling you to consume your f*cking day with waking up drinking codeine, smoking weed. That sh*t don’t make you productive. There was positive, uplifting sh*t I grew up listening to. This bullsh*t these n*ggas kicking now is garbage, and they know it. The labels know it. They killing these kids with this sh*t. They trying to keep music that I make away from the masses. I’m gonna make that sh*t anyway. I don’t give a f*ck if I got to make a dumb ass hit song just to get up in that sh*t and dupe the masses with my music. I don’t care how I got to do it. I’m gonna get it and reach everybody I can before these d*ck suckers try to take me up out of here.
To go back to what you said about big artists jumping on remixes. When you said that it made me think of “Versace.” Was that the particular song you were thinking of?
I wasn’t even being specific, because that sh*t is everywhere. But sh*t, that’s a great example. I can’t take sh*t away from Drake. Drake is one of the dopest n*ggas out period, and ain’t nothing going to change that. He helped them out way more than they helped him, but at the end of the day I feel like that sound was something different. There’s no way he could have ever rapped a verse like that if wasn’t for the song “Versace.” Nobody thought to rap like that until Migos started rapping that sh*t. Nobody even said that stupid shit until they started saying it.
You recently Instagrammed a picture of the Atlantic Records door with the hashtags #WTG and #Work. Are you signing with Atlantic?
Nah, “WTG” stands for “We The Generation.” We just that generation making moves out here. I’m blessed to be able to even post a picture like that, to even be in a position to go to Atlantic like that and just talk with them. Nah, I ain’t signing with them.
Do you have any plans to sign with a major at one point?
Nah, we just chilling. We going hard. Shout out to my team.
If you had to suggest five Deniro Farrar songs for someone who’s not familiar with you to get a better understanding of who you are as an artist what would you suggest?
I hate doing that cause I would say all of my music, but if I had to pick five I’d say “The Calling,” “Free Tune,” “Everything’s Is Ok.” I gotta say “Social Status” just because it’s such a fun record, and I’m a fun dude. Besides from all the serious stuff I talk about I’m really fun. I joke a lot. It’s one of those records. And I’d have to say “You Ain’t A G” because a lot of these rap n*ggas ain’t never sold no dope, ain’t never stood on no block, ain’t never shot no gun. They ain’t never even ran from the police, but they rapping about it. I got to put that in there.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I’m going to be in the mainstream lingering around, dropping jewels. I’m going to be like a young Godfather of rap. Everything recycles itself. They’re like he’s the new Biggie, he’s the new Pac. He’s the new this, he’s the new that. I’m just going to be that artist that everybody’s just like “I respect this n*gga. I respect the music for one, but I respect him as a person, because this n*gga still standing on the sh*t he came in the game rapping.”
Follow Deniro Farrar on Twitter @DeniroFarrar.
To stream/Download The Patriarch II visit http://denirofarrar.bandcamp.com.
Watch the new video for “Feel Right” below.