Hevve on 'Dreamland' and relationship with the city

Last week, the Down to the Beat fellas sat down with a long-time fixture of the local scene, Ottawa-born rapper and Dreamland cofounder Hevve. We chatted about his tenure, his history with storied local producer Quest, and his read on the shifting regional artistic landscape.


Hevve told us he spent a long time honing his bars, a gradual process that came with experience and the fateful introduction to his now exclusive producer and friend of the show, Quest. Beginning a career in poetry, his creative ambition pushed him into the world of hip hop. Starting in 2014, Hevve released a series of mixtapes that ran through to 2017, a year the rapper refers to as the “Year of the Bangers”.


The Ottawa rapper claims this was the year he zeroed in on his sound. His tenacity in the studio came through as he dropped a new project every quarter of the year, each one further solidifying his abilities, building off the last. Every track on these tapes was composed, written and recorded on the spot, laying down the foundation for the now revered Dreamland Sessions. These incredible talent showcases have become the place for artists to flex their talents, gaining notoriety among the local rap community — you can read more about them in our feature blog on Quest.


Those collab tapes proved to be the basis for a long-standing dynamic partnership in the Ottawa music scene, and last year marked the official rollout of the duo’s brainchild, Dreamland. On top of the music, the Dreamland project has helped to usher in a new mentality among Ottawa creatives. Hevve was the one who coined the term “land of the dreamers”, an ode to the city of Ottawa and the artistic renaissance it now watches over. It was then that the rapper kicked the insulting slogan, “the city that fun forgot,” to the curb, and through this new platform, made way for the new wave.


Hevve has high hopes for the rush of new talent coming from Ottawa. He’s been a staple in the city’s music scene for a while now, and wants to bring his hard-earned knowledge and wisdom back to the up and comers. Speaking about rapper Belly, who made a name for himself in Ottawa but gained fame and fortune that ultimately made it easy to leave the city behind, Hevve assured his contemporaries and followers that he had the exact opposite intentions in mind following his recent move to Toronto.


“I wanted to stay in this city and do everything I could in this city, because I wanted to bring the outside to the city. A lot of artists leave the city and try to forget the city. I told Quest, everything I go, I’m bringing it back. Like I’m bringing back whatever I learn.”


It isn’t hard to believe him — it is quite evident that he is doing big things for the city’s blossoming creative underworld, and his experience and expertise is putting in work. The platform he and Quest have established is growing rapidly, and the two have their sights set firmly on the future.


That said, Hevve won’t be pulling any punches with his own personal creative growth. His upcoming album, “Cosmic Wanderer,” is in the final stages of editing and mastering before its release later this month. The project is set to give a reflection on a life full of transitions and movement, but that’s all he’s willing to give us. All that really needs to be said though, is that we’d all better be ready to experience more of that gritty, self-assured realism that pairs so nicely with Quest’s hard-hitting beats. We know it will exceed both our lofty expectations and the artist’s driven ambitions.


John Balser

Instagram: @johnbalsohard

Podcast: Down to the Beat