Haviah Mighty is one of Canada’s most electrifying hip-hop acts, and arguably the country’s most dominant female MC. But the 2019 Polaris Prize winner says she wouldn’t be where she is today if Michee Mee hadn’t paved the way. Often dubbed “the godmother of Canadian rap,” Michie was the Great White North’s first notable female rapper, who broke into the game in the ’80s and gifted us with classic tracks like “On This Mic” and “Jamaican Funk.” Her success would land her a deal with Priority/Atlantic Records in 1988, making her the first Canadian rapper to sign with a major American label.

“In 2021, as a female rapper, there’s a lot of challenges. There’s no about that. But Michie Mee was doing her thing since the late ’80s, when female rappers really had to fight to earn their keep,” says Mighty.

For Black History Month, we asked Haviah to tell us how Michie has inspired her as a Black female Canadian rapper. Check out the video above. And once you’re done, peep the video for Mighty’s latest single, “Obeah.”