It’s crazy to think when Big Havi had only 3 songs out, he’d already accumulated over 570k monthly followers on Spotify alone. One of those is “9 Times Out Of 10,” which went viral even before Lil Baby hopped on the remix. While this one showcased his talents in melodic rap, the personal “Love Gone” and hopeful “I Pray” reminds audiences he’s not just a rapper, but a “pain artist.”
At only 20 years old, real name Javier Hardeman finds his own lane by telling his own story: the good, the bad, and everything in between. Most recently, the East Atlanta native unleashed his debut EP titled Personal Problems: an 8-track project that will have you in your feelings one instance, then turning up the next.
Besides the major label opportunities that Havi attracted, he decided to go the indie route, and sign with independent powerhouse Commission Records (MadeinTYO, Lil Dicky, Derez De’shon). AllHipHop chatted with Havi right after his set opening for Lil Tjay in Los Angeles, discussing everything from his upbringing to
For those who don’t know, who is Big Havi?
Big Havi is an East Atlanta Santa. [chuckles] I’m playing. Big Havi is a young n*gga from East Atlanta, on the rise. Big Havi is a young star from Decatur, Georgia, and he wants it all.
What was the household like growing up in East Atlanta?
My household was just me and my mom a lot. I seen some things that I didn’t want to see, seeing moms go through some things that I don’t want to say. Other than that, I was always channeled towards music. Everything was music for me. I’d build a studio at home, I’d do anything to be able to record. I’d use a first generation iPod if I had to, to try to make some music.
How old were you when you recorded your first song?
I made my first song when I was 3. He recorded it. [points to homie]
What were you saying?
Stuff about basketball. I remember one line, I said “put that basketball!” [chuckles] That’s all I remember.
Who were your influences growing up?
Of course, the good artists around me. B.o.B. was around me and my life. I had the chance to meet T.I. at a young age. I was 10 years old. He let me come watch him as he did his set, on the film with B.o.B.’s song featuring Playboy Tre called “Bet I Bust.” I was able to be in that video. I was able to miss school the whole day for that shoot, so I grew up around the industry. I always loved it. I always knew that I’d love it.
How’d it happen?
Tre, that’s my manager and my uncle. He ran the road with B.o.B. He helped out a lot with B.o.B’s situation. I was just a kid around that, since a baby.
What’s the inspiration behind your name?
My name’s Javier. I’m a tall n*gga so there’s the Big, then Havi.
Did you used to ball?
Mmm, I used to shoot over the hoop. [chuckles] I used to shoot over the goal. I used to ball in my head.
At what point did you know that the music thing was for real, for real?
Telling you the truth, I always knew. Since I was a kid, I’d tell them “I’ma be on stage one day. I’ma be on his album one day,” and it all happened. I always knew but at 11 or 12, I started taking it way more serious. I started getting a manager, trying to make it work. From there, I stayed on it. I started finding new things to help myself grow. I figured out something called YouNow, that was my first piece of discovery without a team or any type of push.
YouNow is a live broadcasting streaming site. You can get partnered, all that good stuff. I’d gotten partnered at 3,000 fans on there. You’re really supposed to be at 10,000 back then, but it happened like that. [snaps] Because my drive. I was getting more views than the people who had a tip jar (that’s what it’s called). They had no choice but to give it to me.
“9 TIMES OUT OF 10” video has 5 million on YouTube, the one without Lil Baby!
I was going to quit music before I made “9 TIMES OUT OF 10.” I was going through some things in life. I was hurting and I honestly took it out on the music. Music never did anything to me but be therapeutic. I made “9 TIMES OUT OF 10” right after I wanted to quit and look at me now, I’m in your face. I’m blessed to be here, it’s crazy.
What triggered you wanting to quit?
I was going through ups and down, losing people left and right. What’s the reason? I couldn’t figure it out. Why’s this happening to me? What did I do? I always made sure I never snaked people so I never understood why all the bad had to come. But now I understand why.
You’re still a kid though, you’re 20?
I’m not a kid, I’m 20. But I’m still a kid at heart. [chuckles]
I saw you perform “Narcotix” out there, you said you lost your friends to narcotics?
I lost people to narcotics, murder, all that and a bunch. That’s what “Narcotix” speaks on.
How was performing that? Because the EP just dropped!
The reception is good. I appreciate the gratitude. It’s a lot of love out there. For me, I felt unloved a lot growing up. I knew people loved me, but I never felt love physically. I always felt like I was less or that guy was more. I just wanted to be a little something like it, but in my own way. Now God helped me find my niche, but I had to stay close to that higher power to get here.
Are you religious?
I don’t call it religious. I believe in a higher power. I never seen God so I can’t say who it is, I just know it’s a God and it’s a God within me. I believe in the higher power. When I talk to myself, I feel connected with God. I’m talking to God because I’m a god within.
So you’re more confident now?
I’m big confident now, only because I can see it from another side. I can literally step outside of my life, look at myself like “wow, I’m doing this shit.”
Speaking of, how’s it opening up for Lil Tjay? Who’s fucking fire.
That’s pretty cool. The fact that bro is 18, I salute him. He’s 2 years younger than me and he’s selling out like that. I never met bro, we gon’ link tonight. I pray that he just keeps his head on and wish him the best. I appreciate him being open to me coming on the road with him, it’s really helping me.
How was it performing in front of a packed venue?
It’s not my first time, so it’s like home again. [chuckles]
What did it mean to get Lil Baby on the remix for “9 TIMES OUT OF 10”?
I’ll never forget. My manager’s like “man, I like this song. It gives me a vibe like Lil Baby.” I felt so insulted. I said “man, Baby gon’ be on this song one day!” I was talking shit, but I was for real though. “Since you think that, Baby gon’ be on this” type shit. I mean, what the fuck?
How’d it happen?
God. Because I never in a million years really saw him actually getting on that record. I just was hoping it and speaking it into existence you can say.
Congrats on the release of Personal Problems!
Thank you so much, it’s already looking good for me. It’s already stars by songs and shit. [laughs]
How does that happen? I thought those were the singles you guys pushed.
I believe it’s from whatever’s played most. What people are really fucking with the most. They give it a star like “oh, this is your single.”
What’s one thing you want fans to get from this project?
I want them to get the diversity of who I am. Understand that I lived 20 different lives in one person, and that I go through 20 different things in one person.
More than 20. I’m just giving you a number to tell you it’s multiple. I go through so much shit and I want them to know I’m just being me and being free in my music. I’m not hiding nothing from the world. I’m not cappin’ in my rapping. I’m keeping everything authentic. This really what I’ve been through, this is really how I’m living. It’s my personal problems. I’d rather them know that first before they think it’s all about the lit shit. I got a whole catalog full of that but before we get to that, I want y’all to know I’m an artist first.
What made you sign to Commission Records?
Because Commission felt like home. They understood me as a person first. They cared for me as a person first and as an artist second, so I had to go with them. I went around to majors, it didn’t feel like nothing. But when I went to Commission, it felt like love. [snaps] “Yeah, that’s where I want to go.” Look at my chain n*gga. [points to neck] Bitch! I’m just playing [laughs]
What does make you happy then?
Love. Family. God, being able to connect with Him. Get those chills when I talk to God like “damn, this shit finna happen bro.” That makes me excited. Playing my little video games. Being on Live with my supporters, talking shit. Jawnin’ on them, they jawnin’ on me. Then talking to the kids. It be a lot of little kids on there. This one little girl the other day, she’s so adorable. She showed me a lot of love. She’s talking about how she plays basketball and all this good stuff, but she seemed so smart. So being in my position, I know that I can use my position to where I can control the youth. I can either control them in a positive way, or a positive way. I never said negative because I want to give them all positivity.
What are some goals for you as an artist at this point?
Honestly, we all have goals as a person. I just pray that I can continue to make my dreams come to reality, that’s it.
What are your dreams?
I mean you can’t sleep on me so [laughs]. I dream to rock arenas one day, I don’t want to be an everyday club artist. I really want to be a touring artist. I want to be able to connect with my supporters and see all of these people are here for me. I want to be able to put my mom in a better position, have her happiness and feel like she don’t have to worry again. Most importantly, last but not least, I want to be happy as self.
What does mom think now?
Mom’s super proud. I could FaceTime her right now, she’ll be like “how’d the show go?!” She’s lit, she loves everything I do. She supports me. She made her first Triller to my song: “808” on my Personal Problems EP.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
If I wasn’t doing music, I’d be a porn star. [laughs] I’m playing. I’m just talking shit. Nah all jokes aside if I wasn’t doing music, I honestly don’t know where I would be. It’s never been a plan B for me. It’s always been to add on to what goes on in the industry for me, so I just want to stay connected. Stay in the industry. I’d probably be a preacher though. Because I’m a real n*gga, they need to feel me. Let the church say Amen… AMEN! All that shit.
Who’s are your top artists in rotation?
Roddy Ricch, Big Havi, Big Havi, Big Havi, and Lil Baby. That’s really who I’m on right now, I’m fucking with them heavy. Super heavy.
What’s your favorite Lil Baby song?
I aint gone lie, it’s an older song called “Pure Cocaine.”
What is your life anthem?
God. My life anthem would be “Personal Problems” featuring Derez De’Shon. Definitely, that song speaks to me. And “Love Gone,” those two are both on my Personal Problems EP.
Anything else you want to let us know?
I’m blessed that you’re here with me. Because I’m just little ole me, it feels good to have you in my presence and to know that you’re here for me. This camera is here for me and that you have interest in making me a bigger me. All the help along the way, I really appreciate it and I’ll never forget it so thank you.