Haviah Mighty’s “Obeah” explores the spirituality of that Caribbean practice — describing the bad energy one might catch from a jealous friend.
A true storyteller, Mighty introduces the listener to a cast of characters over the course of the song: the omnipotent narrator warning the protagonist of the ire of Obeah; the rapper watching her friends side-eye her; and Mr. Mighty, Haviah’s own father, a wise elder trying to keep his daughter safe from harm.
The track establishes itself as a kind of horror movie off the bat, bringing in spooky synths that merge with drums to create the song’s deliciously evil beat. Mighty starts off with the hook, her voice cold as she becomes an otherworldly narrator warning the protagonist: “Watch dem friend deh/Watch who you keep close ya/Your glow up they phobia/Some boi come with Obeah.”
When the verse hits, she morphs into the “I” character, spitting paranoid bars about her success as a rapper and an erstwhile friend who started giving her bad vibes as her star rose: “Bet you don’t think I deserve/All of the things that I got, uh/You see me winning giving side-eye.” When she speculates that said friend would “kill me in a drive-by,” we hear shots fired, amping up the drama still more.
The bridge brings in Mr. Mighty — a.k.a. Haviah’s own father — as he warns his daughter of fair-weather friends, concluding, “Once you know yourself, no man can trick you, you know?” The elder’s earnest voice adds another layer of danger to a track already thrumming with menace — especially when the song ends unresolved, the words “Obeah business” trailing off into silence.