by Ryan Snyder

It’s not hard to find insight into the dyadic nature of Deniro Farrar’s outstanding new mixtape The Patriarch II; the Charlotte rapper’s own body is a road map to understanding the conflict between his Cimmerian verse and the clubby, incandescent production he raps over. On his left side, he bears images of godliness and devotion; on the right, the art is demonic and foul. His music walks that same line between light and dark, cloud rap and gangster rap, snapbacks and bullets,

but he prefaces The Patriarch II by saying this tape continues the themes of self-reflection and confession that started with the first installment in March.

“This song so personal/ Pour my soul in every verse for you/ I’m body-bagging everything/ Deliver it in a hearse for you,” he says at the outset of “The Calling.” The ex-con Farrar’s music is has been laced with hardto-swallow bites of reality since his debut Feel This, but in talking about his experiences selling drugs and in prison, only now does it begin to feel curative. “They treat us like some slaves in this motherfu*king cage,” he says on “The Calling,” evoking Supa Nate’s prison phone bars on Outkast’s Aquemini and suggesting that he’s still serving time in his own mind, affirmed when he says, “My mind in another place/ Stressing how to beat my brother’s case.”

His younger brother Tune’s incarceration is a constant refrain on The Patriarch II, but it’s also Farrar that carries the weight of it. “That’s why I go hard/ Fu*k the fame and the jewelry,” he says on the album’s closer “Free Tune.” It’s a bittersweet verse because it’s essentially Farrar disclosing how much is riding on his rap career, and why he skipped local promotion altogether and went straight to inserting himself in the national hip-hop scene via collaborations with producers like Blue Sky Black Death and an excellent joint tape with Shady Blaze of Main Attrakionz. It’s a heavy burden to bear for sure and these are weighty tracks as a result, and absolutely worthy of immersion.