Big Havi is only 20 years old, but over the phone he sounds grizzled, seasoned and just about every other adjective one could use to describe someone who’s been through the fire and the brimstone and lived to sing about it.
Big Havi, born Javier Hardeman to a single parent in East Atlanta, is very aware of his privilege as a recording artist. It may be the opportunity he holds that compels him to speak carefully, so as to not disrupt or offset the professional blessings raining down upon him.
In a city packed with rappers, it’s harder than ever to stand out from the crowd. But he does just that. He comes across as a Type A personality who is all about his goals. It’s that same laser-like mentality that bolsters a lot of hungry young people on their paths to becoming successful artists. He has co-signs from Atlanta heavyweights like T.I., and modern stars like Lil Baby. Now, he says, it’s his turn.
Big Havi performs before a hometown crowd on Thursday night at the Buckhead Theatre, in a concert headlined by Lil Tjay. He released his debut EP, Personal Problems, last month, which includes the single “9 Times Out of 10” featuring Lil Baby.
ArtsATL: How did you get the name Big Havi?
Big Havi: From my name Javier. I’m a tall person so I just put the “big” on there.
ArtsATL: In your Twitter bio, you say you’re not a rapper, but a “pain artist.” What does that mean?
Big Havi: It’s self-explanatory. If you’ve been through pain, my music is something you can listen to. Don’t expect me to be some everyday hype artist.
ArtsATL: When did you realize your most recent effort, the eight-song EP Personal Problems, was complete and ready for release?
Big Havi: I honestly didn’t. Songs were still getting added to the list. I just kept working until the last day. My favorite thing about the process is the drop date.
ArtsATL: Is there a genre of music you wouldn’t touch?
Big Havi: Don’t ever expect me to not make anything. I wouldn’t exclude any genres. If it makes sense and if it touches my soul, I’m going to do it.
ArtsATL: How does art and music coexist for you personally?
Big Havi: Music is an art in itself. It cuts the soul. I love music.
ArtsATL: What can fans expect from a Big Havi concert?
Big Havi: Energy, fun. You can have fun at my shows. Enjoy what’s going on in the atmosphere.
ArtsATL: What’s next for you this year?
Big Havi: More music. More videos. Just staying in their face.