It seemed like for every two steps Memphis rapper B-Hav (pronounced Bee-Hay-V) took forward, he took four giant leaps back. From changes in management to dead-end deals, B-Hav couldn't catch a break at the dawn of the new millennium even though his fiery, multifaceted flow was never up for debate. But that was back then and before he found his comfort zone, shook off the haters and hooked up with Grammy-nominated producer and fellow Tennessean Drumma Boy in 2005.
A product of his environment (he was raised in the inner-city neighborhood Whitehaven dubbed "Blackhaven" by its inhabitants), which was awash with crime, drugs and gangs, the skillful MC ultimately chose to make his presence felt on wax versus the dead-end streets. Now wreaking havoc on the m-i-c with his yet-untitled debut album, as well as a new Drum Squad Productions mixtape entitled Welcome to My City that features label mates Gangsta Boo, Allie and Drumma Boy amongst others, B-Hav is approaching his new situation with a renewed hunger and vision. "I've always been into Hip-Hop culture and the lifestyle even when I was doing my thing in the hood," says the reformed d-boy. "But I'm beyond the petty stuff and just happy to be a part of such a high-quality brand and positive movement."
B-Hav copped his moniker by shortening and merging his childhood nickname (Bay Bay) with Blackhaven, which represents his strength, struggle and background. Growing up in a household where illegal substances and musicians were equally abundant, the rapper on the rise pounded away his frustrations on the drums beginning at the age of 2, one of several instruments he would later play (keyboard, alto saxophone, trumpet). "My dad was in a group called The Dealers, so I inherited my love of music from him. He encouraged me to practice on everything I could get my hands on and study all genres. He was extremely gifted, but his addiction problems got the best of him."
Not wanting to fall victim to the same fate, B-Hav slowly began turning away from the trap and concentrated on his artistic capabilities. If he wasn't competing in the middle of the skating rink floor against other locals or logging in hours writing rhymes, he was freestyling on the block or producing beats in the home studio he assembled. It was his unwavering determination and relentless work ethic that led him to snag the top honor of being a drum soloist in his high school marching band, a position that gave him the confidence boost he needed. During his senior year, B-Hav received a band scholarship to Tennessee State University and was forced to decide between getting an education or pursuing a rap career. "Music is in my blood; it pumps through my veins and is in my heart. Even though I've been through a lot of challenges that would make most people quit, I've always kept the vision of winning in my mind and it paid off."
B-Hav brings a unique perspective to the mix and brilliantly paints with vivid detail and imagination his life story, in addition to other tales from the hood and beyond. "Although there were a lot of things I witnessed coming up that I shouldn't have, music was always a constant thing in my life that kept me motivated. " Inspired by a roster of artists that are as diverse as his lyrical wordplay (Just Ice, Jaz O, Nas, OutKast, NWA, Souls of Mischief, Public Enemy), the self-proclaimed "recording artist" has perfected a sound that is both authentic and intoxicating.
B-Hav's hustle and flow, as well as his passion and poetry are all large pieces of the puzzle that make up his streets to the suites success story. "The level of my game is different, my story is different. I am the only individual that can express the emotions that I feel and I hold nothing back." Ready for a fresh start and focused on forward progress, B-Hav has outshined the tough times and is letting his music speak for itself. And one of those messages that can be heard loud and clear is that a true hustler never gives up.