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Haviah Mighty recently headlined Sappyfest 2019. Photo: Corey Isenor.

Gig Pick: Haviah Mighty at House of PainT—08.24.19 under the Dunbar Bridge

By Greggory Clark on August 23, 2019





The Polaris Music Prize-nominated emcee Haviah Mighty is performing at House of PainT this weekend. One of the top Toronto rappers of our day, Haviah has been releasing music independently since 2009. She was last in Ottawa with The Sorority—a hip hop trio born during an all-female cypher on International Women’s Day in 2016—for Megaphono Festival at The 27 Club; and opened for Nelly at Algonquin Common’s Theatre in 2018.

Her show is incredible; filled with fast, non-stop technical flows and an in-your-face intensity that’s unparalleled by most rap groups—let alone a solo artist, holding it down for an hour-long set.

Haviah Mighty (that’s her real name, btw) is from a musical family in Brampton, Ontario. On her Polaris-nominated album 13th Floor, Haviah’s sister Omega Mighty features on “Wishy Washy”  and younger brother Mighty Prynce gets a production credit in there as well. She co-produced the Polaris-nominated record with Tim 2oolman Hill of A Tribe Called Red.

Photo: Corey Isenor

The album’s title, 13th Floor, covers several references. Notably, the 13th amendment of the U.S. Constitution (the abolishment of slavery) tied to the analogy of a 13th floor in a tall building—society’s concept that slavery and racism has “been abolished”, though acknowledging the fact that it is still very present in different forms.  Although a superstitious building owner may skip from floor 12 directly to “floor 14” in their elevator directory… we all know where there’s a 13th floor.

Lyrical themes highlight experiences of Haviah’s upbringing, unlearning, transcending others’ expectations, and passages to self-love. As a young woman of colour in a male-dominated field, it’s her testament to championing the underdog experience. By the artist’s own account, 13th Floor is the “most fully realized” body of work to date, following her acclaimed 2017 album Flower City.

Haviah Mighty headlines the main event at House of PainT Festival (under the Dunbar Bridge, near Carleton University and Brewer Park) on Saturday August 24, 2019. Admission is by donation. Gates open at 11am for the dance crew battles, rap cyphers, dj sets, workshops and talks. The main stage concert begins at 8pm.  See Facebook for a detailed schedule.