Deniro Farrar-Patriarch II mixtape review
The world of hip hop has a whole class of artists who I really do respect and listen to the projects they put out, but don’t like yet. It’s just a matter of understanding what makes an artist great. Some artists are great but I have no idea why, so I just keep listening until I’m less confused.
Deniro Farrar was absolutely one of those artists before I listened to Patriarch II. He’s got a delivery that’s dry like the pages of an old library book, lyrics so deeply morose that sometimes listening to his mixtapes felt like reading a sad book the teacher ordered you to read; the teacher in this case being the voice in my head reminding me that this is a talented individual.
Patriarch II is a piano defined epic whose only comparison point might be the 1959 Russian film Destiny of a Man (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Destiny_of_a_Man ). In that movie we meet the main character and are immediately shuffled off to his most painful moments, sucked into a hypnotic journey through human pain. On Patriarch II that starts on track 2 The Calling where Ryan Alexy gives Deniro a haunting cloud beat to destroy and he does through painful admission “…friends graduated I thought selling dope was cool but it wasn’t. Had to learn the hard way, I got locked in a cell 23 hours a day. They only let me out to run around and play, they treat us like some slaves in this mothf#$%ing cage.”
Its only the beginning, the next song Come Home is even more tragically important. On its surface it might look like another “I cheat on my girl and I’m sad about it” track but the concept is taken so far that it becomes something else. Come Home starts gutting you from the first verse “It’s like I can’t look her in the eyes, see her tears start to build before she even cry. I tell her lies, I want to cry because I hurt inside. It gets so hard to tell the truth that I don’t even try. And I’m having orgies with these B#%ches numbers multiply. I took so many drugs cause right now I just want to die.” As he concludes that verse he doubles the vocals behind the phrase “I just want to die” to make sure it’s hammered into your conscious and subconcious. The cheating isn’t glorious it’s horrifying and strips him of the nobility of his character; by the end of the story the chorus imploring him to come home to the family that loves him is devastatingly unfulfilled. Before the chorus finishes the song Deniro’s last line admits that a voice tells him to come home…but he ignores it.
KIRA and Ryan Alexy handle eight of the twelve tracks using the same template. Creepy/enchanting samples/hooks and dedicated use of musical space, the moments where nothing seems to be happening and that makes it even creepier, define the production side of Patriarch II and I would not only want to applaud what KIRA and Ryan did but what they had the restraint not to add to these tracks. The other shout out would have to go to my favorite feature of the tape JMSN who puts the perfect yearning hook on Separate.
I doubt you’ll find a song on Patriarch II that does not mention Deniro’s brother Tune. On the Sade inspired The Reasons he confesses “Ain’t no reason my lil brother gone, I blame myself cause he ain’t at home. Just another N with some dreadlocks caught up in the system, now he got a box.” Farrar is not doing Rakim wordplay; his delivery while dry is heavy with the energy of sentiment. When he says he blames himself your 100% sure he believes it to the point where you feel for him directly.
In an odd way Tune is his salvation. Just as the audience finds hope in Destiny of A Man through Andrei’s relationship with the future of his young son, over time we find hope through all the Farrar darkness in the potential release of his brother Tune as well as Deniro’s release from a criminal lifestyle and the instincts that follow. I don’t want to get too much in detail with this (so you can listen and experience it yourself) but the concluding track Free Tune is one of the most cinematic resolutions in the world of mixtapes this year. The conversation that ends it is powerfully heartfelt but maybe not as important as his admission in the verses that precede it about walking away from the dope game even when his rap money isn’t flowing and how that doesn’t make him a weaker man. Patriarch II is a testament to the strength it takes to stop making bad decisions and the concentration needed to make the right ones. So now I get Deniro Farrar and it was well worth the wait.
Stream or Download Patriarch II below: