Humble Giants
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Humble Giants

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF | AFM

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2013
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"Humble Giants are taking huge leaps"

CALGARY — For artists with a resume of performing with hip-hop legends like Talib Kweli, De La Soul, Blackalicious, and Killer Mike, one might be surprised to find such a minimal recorded catalogue of music. But for Humble Giants (made up of Beni J, Halfcut, and DJ C-SIK), the approach has been one of organic reach and live performance artistry. “In this line-up, we have been together for three to four years doing shows off the strength of our material. Not stuff that’s been released but stuff we like to work on in front of a live audience,” describes Beni Johnson. “We are that live band that likes to cut our chops in front of a live audience. I guess the opposite way a lot of artists do things.”

For the Humble Giants, much of their history has been doing things their own way. When Marty Loughran and Beni Johnson met in high school in Fort McMurray, they began to learn together about digital sound recording, collaborating and learning to use the software as it was becoming available. “Beni was the first person I met who had starting recording his own songs. We used to just skip class and kick freestyles,” Loughran remembers. “Even though I didn’t have a microphone, I would turn headphones into a mic jack,” Johnson recalls. And this DIY approach served them all the way through their move to Calgary, where they went on to create an entire new scene.

In Calgary, Johnson began to turn his attention to the creation of 10 at 10, a monthly hip-hop event that would bring together like-minded individuals for the purpose of collaboration and to create a community. “It’s allowed a place for artists to come together, to be able to run into a producer or another artist to make music. When we first got here there was no place we could go to just run into people,” Johnson explains. “The scene gained a backbone; a foundation; a platform.”

From here growth came in several ways. Humble Giants recruited the skills of DJ C-SIK (a three-time DMC champion and National Red Bull Thre3style Champion) on a full-time basis after their 2013 show supporting Talib Kweli. The group’s energy reached an all-time high and their live performances were creating a new level of dynamism that would garner more opportunities for the group. Included were events such as Sled Island 2015 and this September’s high-profile One Love Festival featuring Nas, Raekwon, J. Cole, MGK and many more.

Considering that, last fall, 10 at 10 presented the Nas documentary Time Is Illmatic at the Calgary International Film Festival, it seems things are coming full circle for the hardworking group. “Marty’s and my approach is trying to give you music that has more authenticity to it. Music that is more true to who we are as people,” says Johnson. “Nas is the epicenter of hip hop. And to be not just sharing a stage, but to be billed very similar to Nas [at One Love Festival], it’s definitely a massive milestone that said we are able to represent our city, and even our country.”

To prepare for the nature of playing such an event, Humble Giants have turned their focus to putting together more releasable material, including their second music video, a new single, and hopefully an EP for release around the time of the festival. “We want to capitalize on the opportunities we’ve been given. We’ve got to put in as much work as possible so that people can have something to take home with them,” explains Loughran. Their forthcoming single “We On Now” is a testament to their hard work paying off and putting them in a position to be noticed, and for massive growth. “We’re on the right track,” says Loughran, and with the big things already happening and the amount of tireless drive Humble Giants seem to have, this writer would have to agree. Humble Giants can accomplish giant deeds.

Catch Humble Giants at Shaw Millennium Park on September 5th during the One Love Festival. - Beat Route Magazine


"Five Labour Day weekend festivals for the local music lover"

This [trio] provides a little local talent for Western Canada's largest hip-hop get-together. Its a good way for Halfcut and Beni J. [and DJ C-SIK] to close out a banner summer that began with sharing the bill with De La Soul at Sled Island. They may not need to be humble much longer. - Swerve


"New music: The Humble Giants release “We On Now” and announce debut EP release"

The Humble Giants trio just released a fresh new single on us titled “We On Now” off their forthcoming five-track debut EP.

The HG trio of Beni J and Halfcut, along with DJ C-Sik premiered the track on Tuesday afternoon as the first new single release that the crew’s had in a minute. HG teamed up with Calgary’s best beatsmith, veteran producer J. Ricky, to deliver this monster new track. Shout out to EQJ Studios, too.

Despite the fact that the Humble Giants have been around for a minute, “We On Now” serves as an introductionary track. Yeah, the Giants have been working. But they’ve been half-assing it. This is as much of a commitment to the progression of HG as it is an introduction. Because HG is on now: “And now I’m feeling like I made it/ I mean I know I’m not there yet/ But I came so far I can’t waste it/ They tell ya to be patient/ But I’m getting sick of waiting/ ‘Cause this world’s mine for the taking/ We on now.”

This track takes us through the rap game come up of both Beni and Halfcut. In case you didn’t know, the two of them met back-in-the-day in Fort McMurray. Apparently they used to skip school to do their rap thing. And now, they’re both in Calgary and still making things happen. The two of them trade off as the track intros, and then Halfcut goes into the first verse and Beni wraps on the second verse.

It all comes full circle just before the track wraps, when HG pauses to let a Will Smith quotable sample ride things out: “Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity. Why would you be realistic? What’s the point of being realistic? I’m gonna do it it’s done, its already done, as soon as I decide it’s done it’s already done now we just gotta wait for y’all to see.”

The Humble Giants have been teasing an EP release for YEARS, now. They perform a handful of shows every year and have maintained a status quo by performing the same few tunes like “Who The Livest” (which I’ll honestly never get sick of – that song is classic). It got a little predictable, though.

Halfcut’s done a solid amount of solo work and established himself as one of the best spitters in Calgary. He bodies this grimy underground flow, and typically works with boom bap and other throwback productions styles. Beni J is (unfortunately) better known for his involvement in the scene than he is known for his bars. Beni J is one of those guys who EVERYONE in Calgary hip-hop knows. He’s responsible for the monthly 10 at 10 hip-hop showcase. He hosts events. He works with up-and-coming rappers. And he does this all without plugging the fact that he’s one of the gnarliest Calgary rappers.

But this summer saw a shift when some new live HG material surfaced when the Giants opened for De La Soul during Sled Island, as well as when they opened for the Flatbush ZOMBiES at Ten Nightclub last month.

It smelt like HG had a new project on the way but I didn’t want to get my hopes up because they’ve stayed sleeping on this debut project for TOO DAMN LONG. But it looks like they’re finally delivering what’s long overdue because its OFFICIALLY been announced that their debut five-track EP is going to drop soon. Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiit.

In addition to the EP release, Humble Giants are slated to perform at Calgary’s upcoming One Love Music Festival on Sept. 5 at Shaw Millennium park. The Giants are performing on the same roster as J. Cole, Nas, Raekwon, Travi$ Scott, MGK, Wale, and more. This is a massive look for HG and an even better look for Calgary’s scene. The Humble Giants are one of few rap groups in the city who are actually on that polished performance-ready level.

Unfortunately, since Beni J spends too much time looking out for everyone else in the YYC scene through his work with 10 at 10, his own personal rap career has taken a bit of a backseat. Beni is one of few who actually values the growth of the entire scene more than he values his own rap game success. He understands that in order for any one MC to succeed in Calgary, the city needs to have an established platform for artistic growth. Hence, 10 at 10. Hence, the reason why not enough people know that Beni J can rap circles around them.

But this release marks a shift in direction for HG. I know they’re Humble and all… But too much humility never served anyone proper in the rap game. I hope this EP release and One Love performance give HG that push to keep at it. The bar needs to get raised. - Hiphop Canada


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos