For Raleigh rapper P.A.T. Junior, it’s all about pursuing the absolute truth. In fact, that is what P.A.T. stands for: Pursuing Absolute Truth.
“I just believe that authenticity is important, just being real and being honest,” says Junior (government name: Patrick Darius Mix Jr.), 28. “There needs to be more transparent artists in hip-hop, whether you’re a local act or, like, somebody who is famous or more popular. You know, there are people that look up to you. I mean, music to me is the universal language. And so, because the world can relate so much to music – you know, people often go to music to relate to people, whoever their favorite artist is or, you know, whatever they’re listening to. And, so, when they go to the music, they need to be able to meet that transparency and authenticity, and that truth and that honesty. And so, that’s what I just try to provide.”
Junior isn’t out to be your regular, garden-variety MC, dishing out the same familiar rhymes about hustling, balling and/or surviving on the streets. Oh sure, he grew up around the gangbangers in his native Brooklyn. Thankfully, he had a mother who got him hooked on spoken-word poetry and the music of A Tribe Called Quest at an early age. He would eventually drop rap tunes that are just as clever and introspective as the classics Q-Tip, Phife Dawg (R.I.P.!) and others did back in the day.
“I just try to provide that positivity, that love, that honesty and just be real, because every day is not a bright day for me,” he says.
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Junior will honestly admit these past few years haven’t been rosy. In fact, they’ve been downright bleak. Even though dude has a master’s in creative writing from N.C. Central, he’s been laid off three times in the past seven years. As a man who believes he’s supposed to be the breadwinner of his household, he was feeling like a bum when his wife began bringing home the bacon.
“Here I am – 24, 25 years old, with my master’s degree at the unemployment office, and I just felt horrible,” he says. “At the time, I was really prideful. I went through depression. I even contemplated killing myself via taking whatever medication I could. I remember at one time just like, you know, if I just take a bunch of sleeping pills, I’ll go away easy.”
Nevertheless, Junior continued to pursue making music. He dropped his first mixtape, “Nystagmus,” in 2014, followed by the mouthful “Just Because I Wanted to Give You a Short Mixtape to Listen to” the following year. Last October, a week before his latest layoff, he released his full-length album debut, “Learning to Live (In a Day),” filled not only with sharp, direct rhymes he penned, but ferocious beats he also produced.
“I just try to provide that honesty,” he says, “but I also give that perspective, that brighter perspective – or, I guess, a balanced perspective on how to approach certain situations or just talk about what I’m going through, in the hope that somebody can relate through the music.”
Now that he’s a full-time MC, Junior is becoming quite in-demand. Friday night, he’ll be opening up for D.C. rapper Oddisee (and his backup band Good Compny) at Kings in Raleigh.
“I always knew I would be doing this,” he says. “At one point, I was like, I’m just satisfied with working a nine-to-five. If music isn’t meant for me, I’m cool. Like, there are enough rappers out here. I don’t have to rap. I don’t have to do music. I just want to take care of my family, whatever that looks like.”
More importantly, P.A.T. Junior has found not only a good, steady hustle, but he’s learned what’s truly important in life.
“God showed me that it’s not all about having a job,” he says. “It’s about loving your family. It’s about, you know, loving other people. It’s about using the gifts and the talents that you have to make things work.”
Who: Oddisee & Good Compny, with Oliver St. Louis and P.A.T. Junior
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Kings, 14 W. Martin St., Raleigh
Details: 919-833-1091 or kingsraleigh.com