Haviah Mighty / Crook the Kid Megaphono, Ottawa ON, February 7

Haviah Mighty / Crook the Kid Megaphono, Ottawa ON, February 7
Photo: Kamara Morozuk
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It may have been drizzling with freezing rain in Ottawa on Thursday night, but inside Triple 7, a venue that felt like someone's garage-turned-party room, was the first night of the festival's rap programming.
 
Yellowknife rapper Crook the Kid opened up the night with a energetic set to a small crowd, fearless in one sense, but scared to fully take control of his performance, allowing a backtrack vocal to overlap with his own voice throughout the roughly 20-minute performance.
 
However, Brampton's Haviah Mighty broke the timid crowd.
 
Walking out in sportswear-like red chaps, Haviah Mighty's presence immediately demanded a high level of attention. Diving into her 2017 EP, Flower City, she kicked off her set with "For Free" and "Westside," and of course, "Flower City."
 
Without an official stage, Haviah was only left with a handful of feet to walk back-and-forth, but her presence filled the black light-lit and mural-painted room. She spoke to the crowd from time to time, giving context to who she is, but it was the music that spoke the loudest. After performing "Vamanos," which was featured on HBO's Insecure in its recent season, she announces a new album, followed by asking the crowd "permission" to perform some new "exclusive" music.
 
She introduced "Wishy Washy," a dancehall-infused single produced by Taabuu and A Tribe Called Red's 2oolman, as well as heavy anthem "Squad" and "In Women Colour," an ode to women of colour, specifically black women, co-produced by Haviah and Obuxum.
 
Before heading into a demanded encore, the rapper reminded the crowd, "Music is all about connectivity, it's not bounded by language." And last night, Haviah Mighty showed that.