On a humid night, we find Fly Havana in his element as he plots his next moves inside Warehouse Music Group’s studio in North Miami, FL. As the mini Fortnite tournament goes down in the lobby, the Allapattah native disregards the outside world while he converses with his engineer Dello and pulls up the final tracklist to his forthcoming project. Moments later, Fly throws himself on the couch as the album’s intro booms through the speakers. He wipes his mocha brown dreads away from his face before he outlines his blueprint for the next few weeks, which include new videos from his new mixtape and performing with label mate and Warehouse CEO Memphis Bleek.
“We’ve got a show in North Carolina later this month,” Fly explained. “He just had baby so… I have a communication thing where I like to give people space. We could be cool for years but I’m not going to call him when he just had a daughter. He was at the ‘On The Run II’ tour with JAY-Z, but I’m not to type to hit him up just to go. I’m just working on what I got going on.”
Fly Havana isn’t the type of controversial rapper that South Florida has become notorious for in recent years like Kodak Black and Lil Pump. Although he’s beefed with The Game’s former foe Stitches and called out George Zimmerman while on-air at an Orlando radio station, his viral drama isn’t what got him signed to Bleek’s imprint. Fly’s vicious wordplay, gutter flow, and addiction to hard-hitting instrumentals is what steered him into his own lane over time, and now he’s finally getting the credit he deserves.
After dropping rhymes professionally for nearly a decade, Fly finally caught a break last year. The Cuban-American’s breakthrough single “Fuck Tha Police” garnered plenty of attention, particularly from Irv Gotti. The Murder Inc CEO felt that the grimy, yet rebellious vibe that seeps from the enticing record was a perfect fit for his BET series Tales. Not only does it appear in first episode of the series, but it also blends smoothly alongside music from Ja Rule, Boogiie Byrd, and more on the soundtrack to Season 1, Irv Gotti Presents: Tales The Playlist.
Shortly after his song aired on national television, Memphis Bleek officially welcome to his Warehouse Music Group on Instagram. Since then, the Cuban rapper has been preparing his debut project on the label, hopping on a few records like Epidemic Music Group rapper Eric Leon’s “Run It Up” and chopping it up with Bleek and his crew on his popular Dusse Fridays podcast on TIDAL.
Fly’s mission in 2018 is to strengthen his name in the game with his forthcoming project Havana Nights. Over the last few weeks, he’s teased his upcoming single “Numb” and dropped a behind-the-scenes look at his visual for his next ominous, single “Hell Of A Night.” The Miami resident spent a majority of this surgical summer shooting several videos for the eight-track project, and he just dropped the visual to “Numb” this week.
HipHopDX recently caught up with Fly Havana to talk about Havana Nights, his work with Memphis Bleek, the Zimmerman incident and more.
HipHopDX: Your music career is off to a great start, but what first influenced you to get into rapping?
Fly Havana: Hip Hop was always something that I listened to. I’ve always loved the culture. Being from Miami, the artists and culture out here have influenced me, but I’ve always had my own wave and sound. I do me and make the sound that I want to make.
DX: How did you end up with the name “Fly Havana”?
Fly Havana: Well I’m 100% Cuban. I’ve been Fly since back in the day. Everybody has been calling me Fly since I was a git. So I was like ok “Fly Havana.” Everybody ran with it. They understood that it’s all apart of my culture. I first picked up the mic when I was a teenager. Since then, I’ve been getting better and better. I always want to improve my craft.
DX: We have a better understanding of what it’s like to come up in the streets Liberty City, Carol City, North Miami and parts of Broward County thanks to prominent voices from South Florida like Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, Kodak Black, etc. Yet, we don’t hear much about Allapattah specifically. Describe growing up in your hometown before your career took off.
Fly Havana: I was brought up with a small family, most of which came straight from the island of Cuba and landed in Allapattah. We were just taught from an early age to go get it. There wasn’t too much they could do being immigrants from a different country so I was taught early to just go get it. Miami will do that to you. I was brought up a little bit differently though because I didn’t listen too much. Well, I did. I listened to certain people that I had to listen to but I always had my own mind. I think it’s very important to have your own mind.
DX: Do you feel like that mentality has influenced your music and/or helped you with your career thus far?
Fly Havana: I think it’s helped me in life period because most of my music is about my life. I’ll make some turn-up shit and all but mostly my music is relatable to me.
DX: Does any of the music from your family played in your household growing up inspire your music at all today?
Fly Havana: Yeah, because we were brought up to learn Spanish. So of course my grandmother and everyone played Spanish music. I was on that Merengue and Salsa early. Celia Cruz and all the legends have an influence on me because of my Afro-Cuban roots.
DX: As a Cuban rap artist, how do you feel about the Latin Trap wave going on? Would you hop on a record with trending artists like Bad Bunny or Anuel AA?
Fly Havana: I think it’s great. Of course, I’m Latin so I’m down to work with whichever Latin artists are willing to work with me to make that sound. That’s going to happen naturally. I can rap in Spanish, and I’ve already done couple Spanish songs myself.
Photo: Allen Metayer
DX: Let’s fast-forward to the moment you first caught up with Memphis Bleek. How did that happen?
Fly Havana: That manifested through years of relationships. I met Bleek about five or six years ago. I played him a song and he liked it. He told me he was fucking with me, and years later we’re here.
DX: Do you remember which one?
Fly Havana: No (laughs). After all this music I’ve made, I really don’t remember. But I know I made a song called “Never Had Nothin” that he liked and then I made a song with him, which was crazy. From that point on, he said we gonna get it and since then, we’ve been getting it.
DX: “Hate Me Now” was the first song I heard off your project Havana Nights. It sounds like a nod towards Nas and Puffy but what really inspired the record?
Fly Havana: It’s just my life, but yeah I wanted to pay a little tribute to them by making that song. Obviously, it’s not the same as theirs.
DX: Another one that sticks out is “New Roc.” Give us the background story behind that because it sounds a renewed testament for the fresh generation of Roc Nation.
Fly Havana: I was just soaking it all in and realizing the position I was in with WareHouse. I know It’s basically like a tribute to Memphis Bleek, JAY-Z, Beanie Sigel, Roc-A-Fella, and all of them, but it’s also showing my version of what WareHouse and the New Roc means to me and where I’m from. They gave me this opportunity and now I’m about to take to another level. I actually made that beat with another producer and we’re about to shoot the video for it.
DX: I know you produced a few records on the project. How long have you been producing?
Fly Havana: I’ve been producing for a while, but I only do it when I feel like it. It’s not like I want to be a producer but I like working with them. I like to put my little touch on my sound. I’m more of an executive producer but yeah I can produce when I want to.
DX: We know Bleek has been enjoying Hov and Bey’s cross-country show, but have you been keeping up with The Carters’ ‘On The Run II’ Tour?
Fly Havana: Yeah of course. I actually just saw the Zimmerman bullshit on TV.
DX: You mean JAY-Z’s docuseries, Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story?
Fly Havana: Yeah I actually called him [Zimmerman] out while I was on Orlando’s main station 104.5 during an interview. While I was talking about my song “Numb”, I said, “George Zimmerman makes me feel numb.” I don’t know if he heard it but I know ended up tweeting at his brother or cousin too. I don’t think nobody got to kill nobody at the end of the day but, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but a lot of artists in Florida have been killed, yet Zimmerman still did that and he’s free. I don’t understand that shit. The problem is after he killed the kid, he flaunted it by selling the gun and flaunting that shit. It’s lame.
DX: How did you feel after watching the documentary?
Fly Havana: They did a good job bringing everything to light. It was good. Besides that, I don’t think there should be any more attention about it. I think it’s good that keep on proceeding like that, but at the same time let’s leave it alone already. Me even calling him out, after that I said if I see Zimmerman, I see Zimmerman. But to keep talking about the dude is giving him more publicity and recognition, and he’s getting checks bro. They’re probably booking him and whatever just to talk so fuck that nigga.
DX: Recently, artists and athletes alike have been embracing their roles as moguls in media film and the community as they branch outside of their respective fields like Hov and even LeBron James. Is that something you’re interested in doing eventually?
Fly Havana:Yo, big shout out to LeBron for opening up the ‘I Promise’ school. That’s dope. Whenever I can, I want to do that too especially in my community. I think that him shining light on that cause is great. We’ve got to shine light on more charities like that so that people can get more hands-on and motivated within the community.
DX: With the 4th quarter quickly approaching, what’s something we can expect from you before the end of the year?
Fly Havana: More music videos, that’s what you’re going to see. It’s time. I think it’s time for me to really show out. The fans want it and we’re going to give it to them. I’m already working on my next project too.
Keep up with Fly Havana’s latest on Instagram @flyhavana and watch the “Numb” video down below.