Deniro Farrar has come a long way from Charlotte, N.C. The rapper signed a record deal with Vice Records/Warner Bros. Records last October, and since then he's gone a bit quiet, taking his independent movement back underground and keeping his cards close to his chest. But he's independent no longer, and he's ready to show his hand on his upcoming EP, his first output since signing to the label.

"We're running with that Rebirth, because it's the rebirth of everything, you know what I'm saying?" Farrar said during a visit to XXL headquarters last week about the title of the EP, which is due in the early summer. "It's like a new beginning."

It's a new beginning in more ways than one; in addition to the new music, Farrar will be all over SXSW next week, and he's learning how to give up the vice-like grip he's had over his career to the scheduling and organizational team available to him on a label. And in anticipation for the EP, he's also leaked out a new track, titled "Burning Bills" and featuring Lunice. It's the second leak off Rebirth, which will count as his first official project since signing on the dotted line.

"Having a label behind me, there's so much structure to it, it's dope," he says. "I'm just learning to sit back and be a student. I was trying to control everything, because I was so used to doing that shit, being independent, having control over a lot. I'm still learning and shit, even listening to everything." —Dan Rys (@danrys)

You signed to Vice in October. What are some of the biggest things that have changed for you?
The people. My team, I actually got a team of people working for me now. It's different. I was so used to doing all this shit on my own at the beginning, and just the people who I had in my corner—I mean, we still got out little squad inside of the team, too—but I just got eager people, mad people from the label. And just to see how everyone wanna help me and shit, just from the rollout, to the plans that they have for me; I've never been in a situation where people have plans for my career. Like, "This is what we wanna see happen in such and such amount of time, this is how we're gonna execute it, these are the shows we have lined up for you at SXSW." It's crazy, you know what I'm saying? I feel like that's all I was missing, was organization. And the label brung that. I haven't had anything for them to stand behind as far as musically, so I'm done with my EP now. That's gonna be crazy, I'm ready for that.

Was there a learning process getting into the system?
Really, it was just like, I'm learning how to be not such an eager beaver, I guess, 'cause I was just dropping content like every fuckin' week, 'cause I felt like I had to. So now it's kind of like, stagger back for a little bit. Everything's planned out—we didn't even have a plan. Dropping The Patriarch when I was still independent was just something I did out of just wanting to keep that buzz and momentum going, so I was like, "Fuck it, let's put something together, I'm finna go to SXSW." Which is actually a good strategy, because now being on a label, I see the rollout before SXSW, and want to have content before going in there. So I already had that mindset before even being signed, that I felt like we should have gone to SXSW with something, and it actually worked.

Did that help you focus more on the music when you got back in the studio?
Yeah. But I still worried, though. Because this is all still new, you know what I'm saying? I'm coming from a situation where I did years of this shit, worrying and being in the driver's seat. And I said that to [new manager] Meko when we first started working together, like, man, I just wanna be a rapper. But now I have that opportunity to do that, and I'm still like, I wanna be hands-on. But it's different now, I don't have to worry about how I'm gonna get into the studio, shit like that. The music's turning out better, too.

It's tough to give up control of that when you're talking about your entire career.
Yeah. It's tough to put that in somebody's hands, you know what I'm saying? But it's all about trust; I feel like, if you trust the team you got and the people in your corner, you don't have to be on it as much. But you still gotta always be cautious about what's going on. But I'm learning how to fall back and not be so on it and everything.

Tell me about the EP. How long have you been working on it?
That shit crazy. I've been working on it for a while; we actually scrapped the EP and re-started, re-did it in record time. For real, real shit, we went back to the drawing board on the whole EP. And that shit is gorgeous. It's like a beautiful woman. Build-a-bear customized shit. [Laughs] For real, it's crazy. I just listened to it again today with our booking agents and shit, I went over there and played it for them. We got the mastered version back of it, so it sounds really good, really clean. It's the first time I've ever heard myself over mastered tracks. I sound like God if he rapped. I can imagine that's how he sounds.

You gonna be touring after that?
We're gonna be touring, we're getting the dates together and locked in right now. The musical aspect I enjoy, I enjoy the writing process and all that, but the shows is, I'm ready for that.