Miami's Havana Makes Her
8/25/04 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview
Four years ago, a Cubana by
the name of Havana made her debut entrance into the rhyme
game with her album "How Much Do You Want Me." The single
of the same title shot to #11 on Billboard's top 100 Rap
Singles chart, seemingly offering Havana a promising
career. Despite catching a buzz from the single,
Havana dipped off of the radar for several years. 2004,
and she's back in the studios in her native city of Miami
working on her sophomore album.
Havana spoke with
LatinRapper in an exclusive interview about her break from the
biz, her new album, and why Miami is the place to be for music
LatinRapper.com: First off, you had a track that debuted at
#11 on Billboard's rap singles a few years back, yet there was
no follow up for years, why the hiatus?
Well, basically that ended up being just bad timing. Bad
timing and I was caught up in the middle of a little struggle
that I didn't want to be involved in, that's pretty much why
I'm starting over.
Can you expound on that a little?
It would have been a good thing [to drop], unfortunately the
politics of the game, I wouldn't have been able to make the
moves I would have liked to make for me. It would have been
something that didn't work well for my career.
What are you working on at the moment?
Actually I'm doing some really hot stuff, I made some changes
as far as styles. My style is pretty much similar but I'm
rapping in Spanish, a lot. I recorded an entire Spanish album,
which is a new thing for me. I'm still working on a mixtape at
this time, which is using both the languages but mostly
English. After that I'll be following up with an album in
English and maybe some Spanish here and there.
Who is doing the producing?
So far I've had only one producer, Big Nak for Soundproof
Entertainment. He also had some tracks on the album that got
my deal for me, so we still work together. I worked with Cool
and Dre, I have two new tracks for the album. I'll probably
have one of the Cool and Dre tracks on there (the mixtape),
but the rest of it is gonna be stuff that's on the radio now
as far as beatwise, and I lyrically put my own spin to it.
Who are some of the guest artists involved?
I have some local artists; Dirtbag is gonna be on the mixtape
with me. I'm looking to do something very soon with Pitbull,
who is also a friend of mine, but he's a busy guy right now. I
also have some local artists, Allie, Mic Menance.
What separates "How Much You Want Me" from some of the
tracks you are recording now?
Well, How Much You Want Me served its purpose. It served its
purpose on the street. I don't know if you are speaking
album wise or single wise, but album wise I've grown a lot. As
far as the single goes, I definitely have as much potential as
How Much You Want Me, or more. So I definitely hope that
people feel it as much as at that time and I catch as much
Your bio describes you as the "type of artist and girl
every other girl wants to be, and the girl that every guy
wants to meet". Pretty bold statement, where does that
confidence come from?
I'm a very confident person altogether, but its just that
comes from all the friends that I've been around, people that
I've been around in general. Not patting myself on the back,
but going from what I hear from other people, when I go
somewhere, I just attract a lot of attention from different
people . Not just how I look, but conversation. I'm real cool
with the girls, I'm real cool with the guys. I can get along
with anybody as long as they can get along with me.
In a recent interview, Gloria Velez told us that being a
female and being Latina were obstacles to women trying to make
it in the rap industry, do you feel the same way?
I gotta say that I agree with Gloria on that one, because its
just difficult. Being a woman altogether, an being a Latina
woman, people are gonna underestimate you for one. Two, being
approached is different. Its difficult to get a collab with
someone you look up to and want to meet them, it's a different
expectation, they may have the nerve to ask you to sleep with
them. I try to stay away from that, I try to keep a positive
attitude. But I'd like to open the door for the next Latina
girl that wants to rap, or sing, or any minority period.
Hopefully people can learn from my experience.
Any female artists that you'd like to collaborate with?
Man, I'm really looking forward to hopefully one day working
with Christina Milian, I like her a lot, plus that She's Cuban
and that has a lot to do with it. I would have to say Lil Kim.
And Missy Elliot, forget it, I don't know anyone who doesn't
want to work with her.
Who were the artists you looked up to when you were coming
up in music?
A little bit of everybody, not necessarily just rappers.
Michael Jackson is the ultimate, talent wise, I think he's a
really good writer. As far as rap artists goes, Jay-Z has
blown my mind many a time, Eminem is someone I would like to
work with as well, I remember seeing Run DMC when I was little
little. Going to the concert with my sister, they are probably
the ones who made me look forward to maybe doing something
The few Cuban rappers that have gotten some shine are men,
no Cuban female rapper has really achieved mainstream appeal
yet. Does this influence you to represent more or make a name
Yeah, I would love to be the first, why not. I want to be
known as the first Cuban chick of the rap game. I want to be
the one to open that door and bring in others.
Miami has long been a known Hip Hop spot, but now it seems
to be the place that plenty of rappers outside of Florida are
moving to. Why do you think this is happening now?
I think everyone is coming down here because it's the next hot
spot. You have a lot of local independent labels, and the
bigger labels getting offices down here. A lot of fun as far
as a city to be in, clubs all over the place, music all over
the place. A big melting pot. The main reason everyone always
gives is the weather, but I think its fun, that's why people
are coming down. People are coming down to make the changes
Miami should have made a long time ago. We've always had
independent labels, but the teamwork wasn't always there.
Slowly but surely I think we're getting there.
Havana Mena on Myspace: