A distinctive hallmark of hip hop culture is the reverence paid to one’s city or hometown; JAY Z eulogized New York in ‘Empire State of Mind’, NWA was unabashedly ‘Straight Outta Compton’, and even our own Drizzy Drake sat atop Toronto’s CN Tower for VIEWS. A rapper’s tribute to their city is just as crucial to the culture as rap beefs and bling.
For as long as I can remember, Brampton has always been very hip hop. From as early as middle school, I embarrassingly recall rocking the generic Brampton Boy uniform: over-sized G-Unit and Roc-a-wear t-shirts, pants deliberately falling below the waist, beige Timberlands, and a fitted hat with a random basketball team’s logo on the front (with all the necessary stickers to verify authenticity, of course).
Before any indication of Toronto’s takeover of the music scene, Brampton was the silent observer of hip hop’s most powerful cities – from New York to Atlanta to L.A. When
Before any indication of Toronto’s takeover of the music scene, Brampton was the silent observer of hip hop’s most powerful cities – from New York to Atlanta to L.A. When JAY Z and Alicia Keys released ‘Empire State of Mind’, no one thought that Brampton could be captured in the same way.
Not until Haviah Mighty’s release of Flower City. The entire album pays affectionate homage to Brampton, the city that Haviah credits as having propelled her into success.
In an interview about the album, Haviah talks about the lack of opportunity in the area of Toronto where her family lived. When her family moved to the bustling new suburb that welcomed many former Torontonians, she gained a fresh perspective on life. Despite not being originally from Brampton, she feels a need to pay tribute in what she describes as her best work yet.
The album is 7 tracks long and contains poetic imagery of the Flower City. The opening track of the same title opens up the album with high energy. When Haviah performed the song at her album release party, the ‘Flower City’ chant at the end hauntingly resounded throughout the room. Listen to the album below: