There's something to be said for a Charlotte rapper who isn't concerned with pursuing hometown notoriety while successfully cultivating a wider, national audience.
Deniro Farrar accomplished that feat and released his latest mixtape, The Patriarch, just in time for his recent SXSW romp.
The Patriarch finds Farrar settling into a groove sonically. He's found a home on instrumentals which are decidedly un-Southern, but plays nicely off his Southern drawl and bravado. His vulnerability matches bass-heavy, atmospheric beats, at no point feeling soft.
While some of his lyrics aren't different from any other trap rapper's, his most personal bars get directly to the point and are easy to digest, thanks to production that doesn't battle for your attention.
What's poignant about his lyricism is its honesty. It's refreshing, albeit an indictment on some of Charlotte's flaws that allowed kids like him to slip through. He makes no bones about being uneducated, growing up underprivileged and still being haunted by some of the experiences in his past.
Much like your father retelling his favorite story for the umpteenth time, the most noticeable flaw in The Patriarch is its repetition. Not in beats or delivery, but in content. We've seen some artists sustain lasting careers with one pitch. It only takes a few tracks to understand the major plot points in Farrar's life, yet when those perspective-shaping experiences reappear, he hasn't mastered the nuance of painting them in new ways.
What is undeniable is Farrar's growth. With less than three guest appearances, he manages to carry an entire album's worth of material and proves he's flat-out a better rapper than he was on previous mixtapes and albums. Considering his relatively short time on the mic, The Patriarch is an encouraging sign of things to come, even if I'm not ready to sit him at the head of Charlotte's hip-hop dinner table.