August 4, 2014

140122-deniro-farrar-this-is-happening

Kyle Ellison wants to retire on a yacht called the SS Minnow

Approximately 95% of songs written ‘for the ladies’ are not for the ladies. Aside from the fact that they’re mostly trite, box-ticking 3rd singles written in pursuit of groupies, record sales or both, it’s a reductive concept before pen even touches paper. It might be a clusterfuck couple tribute like Future and Kanye’s ‘I Won’, or, more dangerously, it could be a sneaky sensitive bro who disguises his intentions in smooth sing-rap stylings.

When ‘Notice’ landed in my inbox a few months ago then, I wasn’t exactly itching to press play. The press release had been marked up with ‘for the ladies!!’ in headline and body – their exclamation marks, not mine – paired with repeat references to something called #CultRap, the most inane hashtag genre this side of #SadBoys. Still, Farrar has proven to be a nuanced, sympathetic writer in the past, and ‘Notice’ follows suit.

Now complete with the literal video treatment, the song tells a simple story of a single mum battling against the poverty line – you’ve heard it before, but this time it feels realer. Farrar has a knack for doing that. He notes the cocksure guys hollering in her direction at the gas station and the store, as well as abusive partners and fake friends. His lyrics are rarely dressed up with wordplay or double meanings, but the plainness of his speech makes him easy to believe. Sometimes the stories of everyday struggle are striking enough; they don’t need turning into poems when simply putting them on a page will do. “I just want you to know I notice” raps Farrar on the hook, nothing more than that, all too aware of how his words might sound in a stranger’s ear.

Taken from his similarly impressive Rebirth EP, Deniro Farrar has endured as his cloud rap peers gradually dissolved into the haze of their own weed smoke. But then, despite his beat selection, Farrar was never trying to blend into the atmosphere but to cut through it. ‘Notice’ is just his latest success in doing so.


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