Haviah Mighty Ranks Her 5 Best Songs

"I should throw things at the wall a lot more often," reflects the rapper

Photo courtesy of the artist

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jul 12, 2023

For the last few years, it has felt like barely a month goes by without Haviah Mighty spitting fire. She's been on an irrepressible streak ever since the release of her 2019 album 13th Floor, which won the Polaris Music Prize and earned a spot on our year-end list.

Barely missing a beat, the Brampton-bred MC began releasing a steady stream of tracks that led up to 2021's Stock Exchange, which won the 2022 JUNO Award for Rap Album of the Year. Just a few months after that, she began dropping more singles. Her new full-length, Crying Crystals — which comes out this Friday (July 14) — is the latest highlight in this dizzying run from one of Canada's hottest rappers.

To mark the arrival of her new album, we asked Mighty to pick the five best songs from her own catalogue. Her answers span tracks from her last few years, including her most powerful political moment, some therapeutic self-healing, and the song that made her realize she could cross any genre lines she wanted to.

See Mighty's picks below. Read past editions of our High 5 series here.

5. "Tesla"
Stock Exchange (2021)

I think this song is super unique — very strong production and metaphorically interesting. The reggae-style switch-up at the end gives the song more layers. The hook structure is short, leaving more space for the verses — so I get to talk a lot on this record. It's very self-affirming. It was definitely one of my favourite videos to shoot as well. All in all, it was a cool way to express gratitude and progression!
4. "Wishy Washy" (feat. Omega Mighty)
13th Floor (2019)

This was early genre-bending for me, playing with Afro-fusion pop sounds and collaborating with my sister. I had a lot of fun writing less rap-centric vocals and sinking into a singer's vibe a bit more. I liked the challenge of telling a relatable story with fewer words to do it with. This song really helped me with more effective songwriting; less is more. I loved working on aspects of this in Canada and L.A.; I can feel the travel and openness in the sound design. 
3. "Protest" (feat. Yizzy)
Stock Exchange (2021)

One of the most powerful songs I've ever written. It came to be during the pandemic, inspired by the murder of George Floyd. The tension was high between the people and the police. I wrote this song in response to the millions who didn't seem to understand the need to occupy space in this way, even given what had happened. I wanted to highlight the existing trauma, its ramifications on certain communities, and why many choose to shift mainstream perception through means of protesting the norm. It's one of the most beautiful productions I've ever been on: a blend of hard-hitting drill drums, pretty lush piano chords, and "moments" that vocally outline the pain many face as a result of this trauma, all with instrumentation that pulls you into that same world. 
2. "Honey Bun"
Crying Crystals (2023)

This song represents a major shift in sound, cadence, tone and songwriting approach for me. This is off my latest album, Crying Crystals. It's the lead single, and I'm really digging inside to find the theme for this one, but the way it's communicated is super calm: a lot less words, a lot more feeling. The beat is full of energy and drives my messaging home, while the messages are communicated in a monotone, almost empty voice. This was done with purpose — the song is empty, full of fluff, and based on the most vain concepts of beauty and promiscuity. The sections in this song give balance, where you hear that internal conflict over the chorus — you can hear that this person wants to be better; they're just unsure how. This song was very therapeutic for me, and helpful for my own healing.
1. "Room Service"
Crying Crystals (2023)

A song I didn't know I needed to make. It was a random idea, thrown at the wall with very low expectations. I don't make Afro music generally, anyway. But after doing an Instagram call-out for production in this style, just to see what happened, "Room Service" happened. This was one of those songs that wrote itself. It was my real feelings towards this person I'm losing, where "Honey Bun" was a mask. The groove and feel are just infectious. I learned through creating this song that I set unnecessary boundaries on genre expression — and with the success of this one, I should throw things at the wall a lot more often.

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