The first time I saw — or even heard of — Haviah Mighty, she was blazing through hyperspeed raps at the Linen Building in Boise, ID during an unofficial rap night at Treefort Festival. To me, far beyond her technical ability, which was prodigious, the thing about her that stood out most was her impeccable swagger, her utter mastery of the crowd and the tempo of the performance. She seemed to glow.
The basics seem almost too mundane for the magnetism her tiny frame emits. She was born in Toronto, Ontario in Canada and now resides in Brampton, Ontario , just an hour away by car. She stand sonly 5 feet and an inch tall — and I’m giving her the inch — but there are about 200 tons of dynamite packed into that elven form. Haviah Mighty is her real name. She’s only 24-years-old. It’s like the Rap Gods decided they’d had enough of the day-to-day shenanigans and decided to cook up their own Athena, fully-formed as the perfect specimen of flow and force, of energy and charisma, born to be a star.
Her first, independently-released mixtape dates back to 2010, it’s called No Studio and it lives on her Bandcamp alongside the rest of her prolific output. It doesn’t sound like a first effort, although it bears every hallmark of the era in which it was released. Its first song, “From Scratch,” explains her process, in which she does everything, from writing to producing to mixing. She raps, she sings, and she exhibits an almost ridiculous level of confidence from a then 17-year-old from a city that mostly only Canadians have ever even heard of. However, she also displays all the gifts, polish, and drive to justify it.
Her first brush with international stardom came in 2016, when a video from Team Backpack excerpting her verse from TBP’s International Women’s Day cipher exploded to viral fame. The attention soon began to pay dividends as Canada’s Complex recognized her 2017 EP Flower City as one of its Favorite Canadian Releases of that year, but Haviah so clearly wants to be more than just a Canadian star, as much as she loves her home. She is destined for more.
This year, Haviah released another well-received single in honor of International Women’s Day: “In Women Colour,” praising the power of women and again proving that her mic skills exist in a different dimension of skill and precision than anyone’s you cared to compare them to. Her latest single, “Wishy Washy,” only proves her versatility and chameleonic ability to transform her style to fit any genre with aplomb and grace and nods to her Caribbean roots — in this case, confrontational dancehall with her sister, Omega Mighty.
With her latest album, 13th Floor, set for release later this year, Haviah Mighty seeks to reframe the discussion around race, gender, femininity, and rebirth. She wants to challenge the idea of “bad luck” and reset expectations of female performers in the formerly male-dominated hip-hop space. With 13 tracks featuring her group, The Sorority, and her brother, Mighty Prynce, all produced by Haviah herself, 13 Floor aims to prove just how high Mighty can truly go.
13th Floor is due May 10.