Nii G [10 At 10 Profile]
Calgary, AB – We’ve been away for a minute and everyone’s been asking – what’s been going on with 10 at 10? On thing is for sure: it’s been building the whole time. Just because we’ve left you hanging so long we’re giving you some treats, a new HipHopCanada feature – the 10 At 10 Profile right before the first Block Party. This month we bring you Nii G, who now rocks Calgary stages after cultivating his style down south in Texas. Check out his thoughts on the Calgary scene after the jump.
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Nii G: I’d define Hip-Hop as a musical form of expression that was birthed from the struggle of African-Americans. That’s probably the reason why I relate so well to the art form. It’s been a way for me to deal with the pain in my own life. It helped make sense of storms I weathered. I’d come out of them with a song a lot of people could relate to. It made me feel like I didn’t go through them in vain.
HipHopCanada: How has living in Calgary influenced your sound?
Nii G: I’ve gotta give respect the MC’s here in Calgary. A lot of these cats are at the top of their game lyrically. Definitely provided the motivation to hone my skills.
HipHopCanada: What tips would you give young artists coming up, or what do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out in the hip-hop industry?
Nii G: DO YOU!! Figure out who are you are, how you’re wired and put it into song. Too many imitators and not enough innovators in the game. DO YOU!!
HipHopCanada: How was your experience with 10 at 10? Explain.
Nii G: In a word, beautiful. It’s all love at 10 at 10. It’s a safe environment for anybody to come and bare their soul at. Whether you’re a veteran or a beginner, everybody in the venue is willing to give you a fair shot.
HipHopCanada: How do you feel the Calgary scene is growing and where does 10 at 10 fit into your own growth as an artist?
Nii G: Maybe I’m speaking for myself but I’d say people in the scene are realizing they’re not alone. There’s more of us out there than we thought and 10 at 10 is definitely a contributing factor in that equation. I love the consistency that 10 at 10 brings to the table. Every month there’s a spot to drop your new material. Pushes me to keep creating.
HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
Nii G: As far as Hip-Hop is concerned, I got my start in the States while attending college in Texas. That’s where I met a group of MCs I started performing with on the weekends. My boy Max Williams from Louisiana was one of them and we’re still close to this day. I’d say he’s made the biggest impression on me as an artist. He taught me not to be so cerebral when making music. I tend to over-think so I needed a lot of help in that area. I learned to just flow when it comes to the creative process and save the thinking for the ‘editing’ process. I hope that makes sense.
HipHopCanada: Which local and Canadian artists would you most like to collaborate with?
Nii G: On a national tip, I think Shad would probably be my number one pick. I’m definitely feeling where he’s coming from. On the local tip, I just heard my boy Beni J. – one of the founding members of 10 at 10 – spit at the last show in April. Dude blew my mind!! Him and I will be talking real soon!
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes?
Nii G: I’d say making the final 4 in a Demo Competition for $100,000 put on by our local radio station back in ‘05 was a highlight. Then there’s the International Songwriting Competition “Song of the Year” based out of the US. The judges are label execs, Grammy winners/nominees, Rolling Stone Magazine, etc. My track ‘So Wrong’ (which is available on itunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/artist/nii-g./id458477584) was the winning song in the Hip-Hop Category and Top-Ten Overall in August of last year.
HipHopCanada: What new projects are you working on? Any upcoming release dates we should know about?
Nii G: I’m dropping my 3P (3 Song EP) ‘WHO IS NII G.? – THE 3P’ this month. I’ll be dropping another single from my upcoming debut album, ‘WORDS TO LIVE BY’ later this year.
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
Nii G: INNOVATE DON’T IMITATE!
Check out a sample of Nii G closing down 10 At 10 last month. Next Volume is tonight at UBU Lounge. Don’t miss out!