The universe has a strange way of connecting people. About a year after first hearing about Deniro Farrar (a rapper being compared to Tupac Shakur), I was introduced to him at a private album listening party in Brooklyn, New York. He seemed pretty chill, but I didn’t hold a long conversation with him. The next day while reviewing pictures on my phone, I found a selfie of guy with locs and a beaming smile, much like a 5-year old kid.
I sent it to my sister immediately. “You must have used my phone at the party. Who is this dude’s face in my phone with huge locs?” She replied, “Oh… that’s the rapper guy, Deniro. You met him last night.” I wanted to have an attitude, but I just laughed. At least he has a sense of humor. Selfie culture strikes again. About a week later, I ran into him at a lounge in Bed-Stuy. I sipped on a glass of red while he inhaled a bottle of water. I was in the middle of a pretty stressful day, but after sitting with him and his manager exchanging a few laughs, I realized that he might be interesting to talk to. His spirit is magnetic.
GK: Before we get into the music, I want to talk about you.
DF: Let’s do this!
GK: Are you a Dog or Cat person?
DF: Neither. I don’t fuck with animals.
GK: What is your shoe brand of choice?
DF: Nike but I like Chucks and Birkenstocks. Gotta have some good Birkies!
[As I shake my head in confusion…]
DF: I’ve got pretty feet too…so um… yeah.
GK: Outside of music, do you do anything else?
DF: I’m a father. I have two kids. That’s a real deal job.
GK: That’s what I hear.
DF: It is. Ain’t no off shit. I have days where I don’t work on music, but I can never not talk to my kids. That shit’s every day. I am a father. Also, I got a boys group. Me and my boys volunteer at the Bruns Academy down in Charlotte with the kids and shit. We attend basketball games and spelling bees and then we do random pop ups, but it’s no curriculum. We try to teach character building skills, because I think it’s important that these kids have character building skills.
GK: Nice… What grades are the boys in that you all work with?
DF: 3rd through 8th grade
GK: Dope. Ok… let’s talk travel. You travel a lot. What’s the most disappointing city that you’ve ever been to and why?
DF: Hmmm. I can’t really say. Anywhere I’ve travelled to and stayed for a significant amount of time, I’ve enjoyed.
DF: Yeah, because I’m in my own world. Even when I was in LA. I don’t do LA shit. I be with my people and do what I like to do. I go to the beach. Exercise. I’m in my own world.
GK: So basically, you do you, regardless of the city?
GK: What is the last city that you couch-surfed in and why?
DF: I just couch surfed in Philly…mmm well more so I couch surfed through LA…through and through.
GK: Have you traveled to a city for business or pleasure that you would pick up and move to in a heartbeat? If so, why that city?
DF: LA… wait… and live? No. Colorado Springs! They’ve got reservoirs in their backyard. Like natural spring water and shit. And they have weed-infused restaurants there. That shit is levels up. Even though I didn’t try anything there.
GK: Wait. What? Why?
DF: Because I don’t smoke or drink. I feel paranoid when I smoke so I don’t do it.
GK: Really! I don’t smoke weed either. I feel dumb when I smoke it.
[Slight bonding took place in that moment. Imagine a fist bump between us.]
GK: What’s your take on marriage?
DF: Mmmm… I was just talking about getting married yesterday. I’m about to get married.
[The look he gave me made me realize that he was being sarcastic AF.]
GK: Ok. Polygamy or Monogamy?
DF: Is this a rhetorical question? You want me to answer…
LISTEN TO HIS RESPONSE…
GK: Hmmm…You may be a little bit more African than you think!
DF: Well… I do have a little African in me. Hysterically laughing he roars… ”Mandingo!”
[Hysterical laughter takes over as Deniro’s manager just shakes his head]
GK: What do you know about the tribes?
DF: I come from them.
GK: Oh my God! You are wild!
[But…he’s right. He comes from one of those tribes. After I catch my breath from laughing I realize, this guy is crazy AF]
GK: Do you think you can have your career and marriage simultaneously?
DF: Yeah. I’m not marrying any woman who doesn’t align with what I got going on. If she ain’t supportive, I can’t fuck with it. That’s like a guy marrying a stripper then telling her, “ You can’t strip no more.” The stripper is probably thinkin’, when you met me I was strippin’. Just ‘cause we got married, doesn’t mean I don’t strip no more. That means that our marriage comes with conditions.
GK: What do you do to have fun | unwind?
DF: It depends. Hanging with my kids. That’s fun. Doing nothin’ is fun to me. I enjoy being by myself.
GK: Are you an introvert?
DF: Sometimes. I enjoy when I can be.
GK: How does it affect your creative flow?
DF: It doesn’t. I’m such a people person and I am always around people’s energy. I need time to myself. Being around people can be drainin’. I’ll sit in the room and watch Netflix, or read. Yeah. I need that shit.
GK: What book are you reading right now?
DF: The Leader of the Dojo and 66 Days of Drift
GK: Would you recommend these books to other people?
DF: I would recommend The Leader of the Dojo.
GK: Let’s talk music. I heard that you are back in the studio. Outside of New York, where are you currently recording?
DF: Philly! The City of Brotherly Love.
GK: Can you tell me who you are recording with?
DF: A bunch of young bulls!
DF: Nah… I’m in the studio with YaMean All World, Scott Stallone, & Samori Coles
GK: Name at least 3 Artists that you have collaborated with on previous projects?
DF: (Manager whispers Gucci)… Yeah… no. I mean… Gucci and I have that song together, but I don’t consider it to be collaboration. Denzel Curry, Ryan Hemsworth… Trinidad James. These are people that I… like… sat down with.
GK: Where do you foresee your music endeavors within the next 6 months?
DF: Well… I’m in the studio. We are going to release this album and then be on the road. I consider SXSW on the road, so it’s coming to fruition.
GK: When is SXSW again?
GK: What do you think defines an Indie Artist? What do you consider yourself?
DF: A signed artist. I mean I still make independent moves. We’re moving independently, but what would define an independent artist is (having) no major support.
Because it seems weird. There’s a lot of ‘Independent (Artists)’ with big-wig connections. You’re not really independent. Independent is like a nigga in the city in the trenches on some Master P out the trunk shit, really getting it off the ground. You got niggas that upload their own shit, put their own shows on, sell their own music, that’s independent. I used to be independent, but I’m not independent no more. I was independent before I got with Warner. But we still move independently.
GK: Do you believe that you have maximized the potential to earn income from your craft?
DF: No. I’ve begun to scratch the surface…in a way. In 2016, I started to understand that I could be a real brand. I can be more than just a rapper. Once the music gets really big, I can venture off and go do other things. That’s why I’m with the fitness and the books. Q & As at schools and shit. I want to go to schools to talk about life. Like Lauren Hill … Jungle Pussy. Jungle Pussy did a Q & A recently at Yale and Harvard. I was like…wow… that’s crazy. I think I can do that.
GK: What would you want people to know about you?
[With a slight lean back in his chair, his nose pointed up at the sky and his eyes closed, he gives his gigantic free-form locs a slight shake like he’s in a Pantene Shampoo Commercial. Seriously.]
DF: I’m fabulous. I’m an amazing person, you know. I’m very honest. I’m super honest with women.
[I stop typing…look him in the retina… and stare with a smirk of skepticism…thinking… “What is this ‘rapper’ talking about?”]
DF: Over the past year, I’ve developed an appreciation for being honest with women.
[Hey Reader, imagine that I just texted you. You just received the iPhone Eyes emoji. Is this dude serious?]
GK: Oh yeah?
[My tone is testy. Testy AF. But I am a professional.]
GK: How has your life changed now that you are super honest with women? Since you felt compelled to say that, please explain.
DF: Because I was always honest with women I didn’t care too much about, but women that I fucked with I would lie to. I felt a lot of women couldn’t deal with the truth. I was always honest, but when they start feeling a certain type of way about me, I would feel like I needed to omit certain shit. Like, if I tell you everything, you take it differently now and stay in your feelings because we are at a different level versus when we weren’t at this level yet. I used to tell half-truths. Then just full lies. The more I would get invested, the less I would want to hurt them. But then I would lie to them, which ended up hurting them more. So now, I’m just like fuck it. I’m not lying to nobody. No more. If I have to tell you the truth and you are in your feelings about it…ok. So what? Fine. But you can’t say that I lied to you.
GK: Hmmm. Do you feel liberated?
DF: I already felt liberated. Now I feel like the weight of lying is now off of my shoulders.
GK: What motivated this?
DF: Parting ways with my ex-girlfriend was the motivation to change.
[The room goes silent. Is he going to talk about an ex with me?]
DF: Um…yeah. So… Can I get some of that Peanut Butter Stew for the road or what?
The most controversial music video of 2017 came from the Creative named Deniro Farrar.
” I feel like this is necessary for the times we are in right now. Gentrification is everywhere — from the boroughs of NYC to the inner city streets of the Carolinas and beyond.It’s time we realize what’s happening and start investing back into our communities so we can own buildings and businesses. Even though the government will keep raising property taxes we still have to keep up — I know we can… we just got to do it.Shout out to Moonlight but this right here is the real best film.” – Deniro Farrar
He is the Leader of Cult Rap, and he drinks water.