Besides the emergence of Roc Nation rapper J. Cole, the musical talent rising out of North Carolina’s undistinguished music scene have been few and far between. But there is one North Carolina emcee who’s looking to change the landscape of hip-hop with the idea of “cult rap.”
Meet Deniro Farrar, the charismatic (actually knee-slapping funny) leader of “cult rap.”
If you’re wondering what exactly “cult rap” means, the “Days Go By” rapper once explained “cult rap” as being “reality rap,” aka the art of rapping about real life. Sounds pretty ironic since most rappers pride themselves on being “real,” but Deniro Farrar isn’t spitting 16s about popping bottles of Cristal, he’s talking about real life – his life.
The North Carolina rapper recently inked a deal with VICE Records, so we invited Deniro to our offices to share his journey as the leader of “cult rap,” talk about getting out of Charlotte, monogamy, and growing up with seven other siblings.
Check out our exclusive interview below.
GlobalGrind: What was it like growing up for you? What’s your story?
Deniro Farrar: I have eight brothers and sisters, including me. It’s eight of us.
Where do you fall in line?
Fourth, so it was like, I was either getting beat up or I was doing the beating up. There was always stuff to do, though. When you live with eight people in one house, you’ll have a good personality, because you adapt to so many different personalities at one time. And my mom was crazy as fuck! Dealing with her, my other two sisters, and my brothers makes you a social chameleon; you can adapt to any situation.
What’s the one thing you hated about having a bunch of brothers?
Having a bunch of brothers! Not being able to get sh*t, like why do you always want to wear my shit.
A whole bunch of hand-me-downs?
What? That’s all we did were hand-me-downs. But I remember getting a few dollars, however I got it, and having to call everybody as a group and say ‘This is my soda.’ Then I would spit in it, and tell them ‘Don’t drink my soda when I put it in the freezer.’ But someone would hate on you, and pour it all out. I hated sharing. I used to tell people I was an only child for a long time.
I’m an only child, and I’m really selfish.
I’m selfish as f*ck, and I have eight siblings.
How does that work out, you being selfish with all those siblings?
It doesn’t. I was always fighting. My brother used to knock me the f*ck out, and hit me with a brick in the face. But he came to my show the other day.
So it’s all love?
Yeah, but he doesn’t play any games. He will black your sh*t.
What did your mom say?
My mom was never there. You have eight kids, you know you’re gonna be working like a motherf*cka just to maintain, especially when you live a poverty-stricken area, you have a drug addiction, and you have to figure out how to maintain that drug habit, take care of your kids, and pay your bills. You’ll never be home.
What was it like in school? Were you active?
No, not really. I dropped out of school in the ninth grade. I was not a fan of school. I would’ve dropped out of middle school if I could. I hated school, but I was always smart. I just hated school. I hate the system, and what it stands for. Now with me being older, and actually looking into it myself, and realizing that the same people who run a lot of the corporations in America control the textbooks in the schools. It’s all a brainwash system to me, but I would never tell another kid that because I know people push education heavy in their household…but school is bullshit, in my opinion.
What made you drop out of school in the ninth grade?
I just wanted to make money, and my brother was a big drug dealer. I really just wanted to make money. That’s all I saw. I would get off the bus in a drug-infested area, and have crack heads walking up to me…I would do it part-time, and try to go to school. My mom couldn’t really do anything. She’d walk in my room, and ask me if I’m going to school. I’d say no, and close my door. It was just like that. I thought to myself, why the f*ck am I wasting my time when I need money, and my mom needs help with some bills. I just dropped out of school like, f*ck it.
Were there any times during those years where you were like, I should be in school?
Even though I didn’t go to high school, I was really popular. I still came to the high school football games. I went to prom…
Oh, you were that dude.
I’d come to fight people at the school for f*cking with my little cousin. I’d come up with fifteen n*ggas.
You were kind of bad, huh?
I’d come to class all high, and then with my Walkman, CD player at the time, teachers would be like, ‘I’ll take your CD player.’ I’d be like, ‘F*ck you,’ and girls would be like, ‘Oh My God, he just said fuck you to the teacher.’ It was crazy. I would have girls writing me letters, wanting me to take their virginity. But what was crazy, I wasn’t even f*cking. I was just bad. I didn’t have sex until I was seventeen.
That’s kind of late in guy years, isn’t it?
What? Hell no! Well, some guys do be f*cking at like twelve, though.
What kind of girls do you like?
I like all kinds of girls. I just seen this hipster girl in your office with funny hair, but I think it’s sexy…I think you’re sexy. I like girls with glasses….I like all kind of women though. Oh, and I recently started liking white girls a lot.
What is it about white girls? Is it because you’ve never gotten a chance to explore white girls?
No, I had a white girlfriend in elementary school. She used to bring me string cheese. I’m from the ghetto. I never had any string cheese. I didn’t even know it peeled; I used to eat the whole thing. And then, I watched her peel it one day, and I was like, ‘Oh sh*t, this is why it’s string cheese?”
You’re f*cking hilarious.
I like all kinds of women. New York is like a melting pot for women.
You have to go to the heights. The Dominican mamis, you gotta check them out.
I gotta stay away from this. I’ll probably get one girl that I’m f*cking while I’m living here, and that’s probably it.
So you believe in monogamy, or are you just too lazy to juggle too many girls?
Juggling too many girls is a headache, it’s time-consuming, and it’s a distraction. I get in like five arguments a day with girls in Toronto. I’m like, b*tch, I haven’t seen you in months. Why are we even arguing? It’s a waste of time. I was just cutting girls off yesterday…I’ll just find me a New York girl that I can just be cool with, chill, talk to, maybe have sex with from time to time, and eat chicken with.
When was the first time you started rapping?
I would always rap.
But when was the first time you took it seriously?
2010 was the first time I got in the booth and started recording some stuff.
Looking back on it now, how horrible was that first song you wrote?
It wasn’t. I was better than everybody. My first song I wrote, still competes with the stuff I’m rapping right now. It’s called, “In The Ghetto” on the Feel This mixtape.
So you came out strong?
I was already profound from the jump. I was better than 90 percent of the n*ggas that were doing this. This was God-given. How certain people could just run fast, and not have to practice – like I’m really fast – I rapped and I was good.
Who were some of the people who you listened to growing up?
I listened to everything.
Wait, how old are you?
Twenty-six. I listened to everything my brother would bring home. I couldn’t afford CDs for a long time. When I really got into music, there was no bootlegger at the time. There was Willy’s record store where you go buy the actual CD, and go spend that fourteen dollars. I would listen to Master P, Ghetto D, Tupac, Luther Vandross – anything my brother listened to – Three 6 Mafia, Playa Fly, all kinds of south music. Once I got old enough to listen to my own music, and buy my own music, I kind of stayed in that south lane. I don’t really listen to a lot of up north music, but I venture off to other genres of music in general. I like Kings of Leon, “Sex on Fire” – I really like Kings of Leon though – Adele, Child Actor, and Javelin.
So tell me about your new deal with VICE.
It was a long time in the making. They understood my brand, and what I was trying to do. The way their record label is structured and set up, it’s like a place for you to be yourself. It’s not like your traditional rap label where it’s like, we just signed Deniro Farrar, we’re going to give this n*gga a chain.
VICE chains, do they have those?
They have rings, and I’m gonna get me one…I don’t really do jewelry like that, what I have is the only piece of jewelry I have.
Is it weird for you to get recognized by people who know who you are?
Yeah, because I ain’t nobody. I tell people all the time that I’m just like everybody else…fame ain’t real.
There’s no reality to fame.
Yeah, it ain’t real.
Tell me how you picked out your moniker?
I don’t remember how I picked out Deniro.
And you don’t drink or do drugs (laughs)?
I’m not saying I never drank or didn’t do drugs…
You just don’t do it anymore.
Yeah, it’s been a long time. But it was like 2010 when I came up with the name Deniro, and Farrar is my real last name.
That’s a dope last name.
It is, right! You should come to Charlotte. We have cheesecake kiosks in the mall.
That’s your family’s business?
Yeah, but they ain’t gonna give you anything for free, but always asking for something for free (laughs). I don’t really know how I came up with the name Deniro, but I put the Farrar at the end for search engine optimization purposes. When I put that on the end, I’m the only Deniro Farrar.
So what would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Probably selling weed.
Why weed though?
I was already selling weed before I was rapping, so I’d still be doing probably, making good money.
Being a weed man?
I was because I was getting it for a good price. I’m not doing it anymore, so what are they going do, re-indict me for some sh*t I ain’t doing?
What other projects are you working on right now?
That Cliff of Death 2 with BSBD (Blue Sky Black Death). We have that in the works right now. That’s probably about it.