Charlotte, North Carolina, has never been a destination city for rap, but Deniro Farrar is attempting to turn that to his advantage. His vision of his home city, as painted on his Rebirth EP, is one with an ever-present God that Deniro tries his best to appease even as those around him continue down their sinful ways.
On “Rebirth / Holding On,” Farrar begs for forgiveness before confessing to crimes and revealing his brother’s recent jail stint and an uncle’s alcoholism. It’s a heavy opening two minutes, and it sets the tone for the rest of the EP. On “Notice,” Farrar offers a hand to a struggling single mother, railing against those that have abandoned or just want to take advantage of her. While he may see his own mother in this unnamed woman, his voyeuristic reading of her life doesn’t come off much nobler than that of the thirsty men he chastises.
Farrar constantly references driving, and Charlotte, on record and in real life, is a city where sitting behind the wheel means seeing a church, or churches, at every red light. Rebirth, with its haunted Three-Six Mafia minor keys, is a blasphemous mix of Saturday night robbery plans and regrets over missing the pastor’s sermon the next morning. Deniro sees the value of both, where others could or would not, but it would be a relief if his worldview could offer a less world-beaten middle ground.