Her advice? Let loose, be free
HER LITTLE SISTER, Haviah, might be the one grabbing an impressive haul of accolades, including the Polaris Prize and Juno for best hip hop album of the year, but Omega Mighty continues to make it clear there is more than one star in the family. And her latest EP, Notorious & Noble, is a dance hall-powered party pack with a winning sound of her own.
After Mighty’s camera and mic connect on the Zoom call and we exchange quick hellos, I realize that she is as regal as I’ve read, even on a relaxed Saturday evening. Ahead of her EP release, we sit down to discuss what inspired her to go deeper into dance hall after having released R&B- and hip hop-flavoured tracks.
Mighty first fell in love with dancehall after discovering Vybz Kartel and other popular dancehall artists through passa passa party music and competing in local dancehall crew competitions in the early 2000s. After growing up in a spiritual household in Brampton that played a lot of roots reggae artists like Peter Tosh and Luciano, one would expect her to go reggae all the way. “I fell in love with dancehall because of how it really infuses and embeds the Jamaican culture in all of its being,” she says. “My take on dancehall is a bit more female-empowerment-inspired than reggae.”
Mighty was a regular guest at her sister’s early shows, and she says there’s never been an issue for them to share the stage because of how they were raised.
“If one of us makes it, we all make it,” she says.
Even after being surrounded by the confidence and talent in her musical family, Mighty had struggles with self-acceptance: “I’m a bit of an oxymoron … born and raised in Canada, raised in a Rastafarian household … these things don’t generally go together.”
Living under those contradictions as a Black woman didn’t make things any easier. Her music is a way for her to continuously reject stereotypes and encourage all of us to do so as well.
“I think it’s important for us to be liberated and free as women because we have been governed by so many societal pressures that have not allowed us to truly just be ourselves and accept ourselves.”
The aesthetics and messaging of this new EP were inspired by her first trip to West Africa last year when she visited Lagos and Accra with family and friends. What was initially a social visit became a powerful reminder of her history.
“Putting a visual to the painful yet rich West African history and the humble beginnings of my Caribbean people,” she says.
“Being able to experience so much rich history that is preserved that we don’t have here and that is not taught here showed me that’s an issue. In order for us to heal, we have to recognize that these are the things that took place and take action in current day.”
But she’s far from stuck in the past as she brings current issues to the forefront throughout the album.
Her little sister helps her do just that on the EP’s track Rush Dem, which tackles current political and racial struggles only heightened during the pandemic.
“Those things have never gone away, but we just got to have more eyes into it because we relied so much on social media during that time.”
The “notorious” part of the record references the “notorious stereotype that is casted upon us (Black people)” during this time as well as historically.
Mighty is excited about her upcoming gig at the Drake, and I ask her for advice on how to become a “Whine Masta” ahead of the show.
Her advice? Let loose, be free and she reminds me, “You do not need to look like anybody else; you just need to look like you.”
That’s not only great advice but also a great encapsulation of Mighty’s message on her new release. Now, excuse me while I go get ready for the show in case she pulls me up on stage.