Via “I’ll wake up, do 250 push-ups and stare in the mirror for a while,” says Deniro Farrar when asked about his plans for the morning of the release of Rebirth, his debut major label project. The North Carolina-based rapper’s rise and shine routine could well be a summation of his music, which balances an abrasive and visceral delivery that channels the unbridled anguish of ‘Pac with tender moments of personal reflection. Rebirth‘s opening song begins with Deniro asking for forgiveness for his lifestyle before eschewing confessions in church in favor of spilling out his soul over the ghostly production. The rest of the six-track project has Deniro speaking from a similarly frank book as he muses on personal changes in his life and coins soulful redemptive raps.
Ahead of the Rebirth EP release show at SOB’s on May 19th, read on to get hip to Deniro’s cult rap movement and find out how it can change your life for the better.
Are you nervous about the release of your first major label project?
Nah, I’m never nervous, man.
How is Rebirth different from the projects you’ve released before?
It’s actually a combination of everything I’ve ever released all made into one. I feel like my whole lifestyle has been put out there through all of my music but I’ve never really dropped just one chapter about how I am feeling at a certain time in one project. That’s what I’ve done with Rebirth. It’s more of a confessional outlet for me. And everything will expand after this project.
The opening track mentions many of your family members, like an older brother and an alcoholic uncle. Did you let them hear the track before releasing it?
Nah, it’s my life. I don’t have many people that I can talk to and that I can trust so my music is a way for me to vent and my music is like my psychiatrist. I have a conversation through my music like that. I feel like I have some of the truest music in the game — I’m just so honest with it. So that first track, like the intro, it was probably the most emotional song on the project for me to write because I explored so much on it and made myself very vulnerable on the track. I exposed a lot that people don’t know about Deniro Farrar.
Was it an emotional song to write?
Not really. My soul is a combination of my thoughts that I’m feeling at the time and what I’m going through so it wasn’t hard.
Have you had any feedback from any of your family when you’ve mentioned them in your music?
Nah, I don’t talk to them before I put songs out. My family never even gives a fuck. They don’t listen to my music like that. The only way they’d hear it is if I bring it to them and ask them to listen to it, but nobody from my family that I mention in a song is going to go out and purchase Rebirth. It ain’t like that.
What’s your cult rap movement about?
Cult rap is a genre from rap that separates me from any other genre in rap. I feel that being an artist I separate myself anyway so why not have my own genre? That’s what cult rap is. It’s substance music and it’s music that really doesn’t thrive off of flamboyant activity or elaborating on things that people don’t want to know. My music is so substance based.
Have you been surprised at how many people are relating to cult rap?
Nah, people know I come from a real place and people tend to gravitate towards the real. They expose the fake. That happened for me too with 2Pac’s music, like “Why U Turn On Me.” You just heard the authenticity in his music, and his pain and his struggle. That all made me want to gravitate towards it because I understood it — I understood the struggle and I understood ‘Pac’s message and I even understood what people didn’t understand about his Thug Life movement and what it was really about. He was really in his own zone at that point in time.
Which of 2Pac’s songs got you through hard times?
One of my favorite songs from 2Pac and just the most feel-good song I ever heard is “To Live And Die In L.A.” I don’t know, but the emotion in that song was so crazy that I just gravitated towards that song. I loved that shit.
Have you experienced any of your own fans telling you that your music has changed their life?
Yeah, I get it all the time, I get it after shows. I never have anyone walk up to me after a show saying, “Hey, that show was crazy I was just fuckin’ turnt up dancing with my girl.” I get people telling me, “Yo, your shit is the realest shit I’ve ever heard, period.” It feels good when I hear that ’cause it comes from a real place.
Do you feel a responsibility to your fans now?
Nah, ’cause I ain’t a role model. I have two sons now — one of them is 13 months and the other is a one-year-old — and I have noticed that the music I’ve been writing since they were born has changed though, just ’cause I wasn’t a father when I was writing all of my prior projects. When your life changes your music changes.
Music can give you a sense of reality and a lot of people don’t get a sense of reality when they listen to the music that’s out there now — at the best they get a false sense of reality ’cause it’s all fabricated. But the essence of rap started off as real passion and it’s substance based music — it ain’t just a bunch of bullshit to put in the minds of these kids. Rap music has an influence on society and I feel that the kids can really go the wrong way listening to half the rappers out there — especially the ones that aren’t living their lyrics. So with me, not only am I living the life I’m rapping about but I can give people some real meaningful lessons for their life.