In her latest article for SHIFTER, Celeste Ceres takes a deep dive into the new Haviah Mighty mixtape, Stock Exchange.
Toronto-based rapper, singer and producer Haviah Mighty skyrockets past the confines of capitalism in search of value that isn’t merely material on Stock Exchange. The sequel to her critically-acclaimed predecessor, 13th Floor, Stock Exchange sees Mighty continue along the path of conscious storytelling and dynamic daringness. Rising above counterfeit pleasures, Mighty is on an upward trajectory and bringing her day-ones along for the ride.
For her initial public offering, she has a worthwhile treat for her investors: a reckoning with the truth. Marked by her high energy attitude, a swift cadence, and sonic dexterity, Stock Exchange is a viscerally-charged project that appeals to all senses. It contrasts the digital age with mercurial soliloquies to explore how good art can get lost in the mix of trying to appeal to the masses.
A snappy pulse launches Mighty into her zone on “Atlantic”. Contrasting the realities of the slave trade that brought Africans to the Americas and current-day captivity driven by corporate culture, she points to greed as the impetus for enslavement. Whether it be through numbers or chains, the world prioritizes materialism, and whether we are aware or not, there are systems that force us to be enslaved. A free-thinker and innovator in every sense of the word, Mighty is a prodigy with the pen, and she’s using her talent for more than stardom; she’s calling on us to recognize the truth.
In pursuit of an inner equilibrium and accountability from oppressors, she is taking a stand for consciousness and inspiring her listeners to choose cognizance over apathy. Most acutely witnessed in “Protest”, Mighty is using her words to spark a fire that shines a light on injustices. A drill Toronto-meets-London anthem featuring the UK’s Yizzy, “Protest” is a defiant outcry against anti-Black racism and unjust systems that seek to oppress those who are different.
Throughout Stock Exchange, Mighty exudes a sense of confidence and menace, snarling over grimy beats and embracing a futuristic edge. She has several unapologetic anthems of independence: “Antisocial”, “Obeah”, and “Good On My Own Tonight”, each marked with Mighty’s unquestionable tenacity and her need to please no one but herself at the end of the day.
Mighty climbs to new heights on each track, but her vertical growth isn’t fleeting. Despite 10 out of the 12 tracks being released as singles, Stock Exchange doesn’t feel like an amalgamation of separate entities. Each record is a carefully crafted fragment out of one huge prismatic game plan.
Sonically and visually, it’s clear that Stock Exchange was crafted with intentionality––from the BLACKPOWERBARBIE-designed artwork, to the intricate beats cooked up by Mighty herself, along with her brother, Prynce2x, Taabu, and an array of other notable collaborators. Unlike 13th Floor, which only had a select number of local features, Stock Exchange boasts a handful of both global and local features from hip hop and beyond, from Barcelona’s Mala Rodriguez, to Charlotte’s Jalen Santoy, marking Mighty’s knack for transcending geographic boundaries and staying wholly relevant.
Stock Exchange‘s grimy industrial beats are heavy hitting and Mighty’s words are searing, curating an experience with vivid imagery and that sticks to the soul. Stock Exchange is a journey of levels: from the depths of the Atlantic ocean, to the harmonic, spicy ambience of “Flamenco” and “Avocado”, to the heights of billboards on “Tesla”. Mighty’s music is much more than bangers to pump up a short-lived moment.
In a society categorized by the digitization and the subsequent homogenization of art, Mighty calls attention to society’s obsession with indexing success by numbers on Stock Exchange––be it streams, dollars, or followers––and reminds us of the need to create with intention instead of impressions.