Organic Pop-Tarts and generic pop songs – Calgary rapper Transit speaks up on his past and future
Local hip-hop artist Daniel Bennett, who performs under the name Transit, has been classified under dozens of controversial sub genres, but he is simply looking for people to stop classifying and open their minds.
Bennett took the name Transit from a memorable incident while still living in his hometown of Victoria.
“I convinced someone not to take their life on a city bus when I was 16,” he says.
“The bus number was 22.”
Naming his most recent album 22, released Nov. 11 2011, shows the incident has significance in his life as well as his career.
Finding success as an independent artist, Transit runs into fans almost every day.
“It’s kind of weird, but it’s awesome,” explains Transit who refuses to turn away from a fan, even when buying toilet paper at Walmart.
Having a chart topping album, studying psychology in university, and staying grounded seem to be the basics of this Victoria raised, Calgary adopted rapper.
“I’m trying to put Calgary on the map. The way the city has accepted me I feel like I owe it to them,” he says.
Along with a warm acknowledgment from the indie scene, Transit is now an important part of Calgary’s hip-hop world.
He and friend Dave Wallace created a generic pop song as a YouTube challenge. The video went viral almost immediately.
“The whole thing was a joke,” says Transit.
Though music industry legend Gene Simmons did not seem to agree. The Kiss front man contacted Wallace and wanted to meet with the two to discuss business plans.
“It’s not us, it’s not real, and it’s not what we believe in,” says Transit.
They sent Simmons some of their more genuine music but never heard back.
The YouTube song was written to make a point, showing how easy it is to fit into the mold of today’s generic radio hit.
“Hip hop is everything to me, it’s my favorite music, and it’s my passion. If I sacrifice that I won’t have much,” says Transit.
Transit’s latest video, “I’m So Indie” has over 60,000 views on YouTube in less than a month. Lyrically and visually the video is an exaggeration of indie stereotypes.
“I wanted to be proactive and question conformity,” says Transit.
In the song, Transit writes, “I’m so indie I eat organic Pop-Tarts,” a product Transit confirms exists. He admits he was disappointed by the taste.
Transit is currently unsigned but has no intention of rushing into anything.
“If you’re looking too hard it’s not going to happen and it’s not going to be right,” he says. “You have to let things take their natural course.”
A proponent of Internet freedom, Transit is currently working on an EP that will be released under a creative commons license, allowing fans to share his music online.
Several of Transit’s songs are currently available online as free downloads.
“I don’t want money to be something that limits what I want to say,” says Transit.
Transit will play at the Gateway Feb. 11 alongside the New Cities in celebration of the World Cup Bobsleigh wrap up.
“It’s going to be a really energetic and fun set because it’s a party,” he says.