Haviah Mighty Phillips Backyard Weekender, Victoria BC, July 27

Haviah Mighty Phillips Backyard Weekender, Victoria BC, July 27
Photo: Lindsey Blane
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Fresh off scoring a Polaris Music Prize short list nomination for her debut, 13th Floor, rapper Haviah Mighty immediately showed why she earned such an accolade. She proved herself to be a warrior princess, a powerful physical presence with the soul of a poet. She said she was from Toronto, but she's really from Brampton, and proud of it. She knows what prolonged suffering looks like, how to rise above and that you have to bring others up with you.
 
Throughout her set, Haviah Mighty bounced around like nobody's business. Strong and solid, high steppin' and fist pumpin' for "Squad," she belted out the refrain "you ain't fucking with my squad." You would have to be crazy to try to fuck with her 'cause she would fuck you up.
 
After performing "Thirteen," a track she wrote before she saw the 13th documentary, Mighty said that song meant the world to her, but given how fiercely and powerfully she performed it, that much was obvious.
 
It wasn't all hard and heavy, though. Mighty twerked a bit during "Blame," a track apparently used in Raptors promos around their 2019 NBA Championship. Later on, she taught the crowd how to do that hip roll during the transition from "Wishy Washy," a reggae-tinged song that broke up her usual selection of slick club rap and neo-R&B beats while showcasing her established singing ability, and "Vamanos," a collaboration with Book that was featured in the HBO series Insecure.
 
Backing her up, DJ Dem Ones spent most of the set grooving to the beats and hyping the vocals without a mic. Thanks to her fluorescent fingernails, you could see from the back whenever she triggered a punctuating "chyesss" sample.
 
Mighty left us with something to think about thanks to "In Women Colour," the song that got the ball rolling on 13th Floor. It's a song addressing marginalization, not just of black women like herself, but anyone who has been misjudged. She spit pure fire all over it, followed by a killer freestyle to silence any remaining doubters, if there were any. She's the real deal.