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Lord Have Mercy: Former Flipmode Soldier
By Ruben Diaz
Sunday - October 31, 2004
Lord Have Mercy
Photo Credit: N/A

You know who Busta Rhymes is, yes of course. And if you're familiar with Busta, you know that throughout his long stay as one of hip-hop's elite, he's always shouted

out his crew's name: Flipmode Squad. More times than none, a squad in hip-hop usually has a marquee artist who 'blows up' and then returns no longer solo, but with a crew of chosen few (or many in some cases) with whom to share the spotlight with. On paper it must've looked like a fruitful road ahead for Busta's comrades, but such wasn't reality with Flipmode Squad, as ex-member Lord Have Mercy tells it.

After a vacation-like hiatus from the hip-hop consumers' eye, Lord Have is back and has quite the interesting story to tell. Not one to hold his tongue, and definitely not one to stick to the script of the rapper's you see on your screen, with button-ups and fitteds (after Jay-Z did it), Lord is out to recapture those years he lost while sitting on the shelve. If you're not quite familiar with dudes' work, please reference any Flipmode track he was on; guest spots on Busta Rhymes' albums; to the hood classic "Home Sweet Home," which he recorded with M.O.P. some years back. With a street album out now titled Runaway Slave, DVD's in the works and his own imprint, you're sure to hear Lord Have Mercy's name in the coming years. For now, read the no-holds-barred interview he treated BallerStatus to...

BallerStatus.net: Break down the situation with Flipmode...

Lord Have Mercy: Um, basically I left 4 years ago. I left to do what I came to do, but now the world sees that Flipmode is on some real fake sh-t... and I don't background sing. I'm not that dude, I'm not the dude in the crew that's nice and can't come through with an album. [Flipmode] didn't serve it's purpose as a launching pad for the group and a launching pad for me.

BallerStatus.net: Are you on speaking terms with anyone from Flipmode?

Lord Have Mercy: No, not really. I've talked to Rah Digga before, but that was about 4 years ago, but I don't really have any problems with them - but in terms of [Busta Rhymes], I don't speak to people I don't respect.

BallerStatus.net: Before you joined Flipmode, did they make it seem as though it was going to be a launching pad?

Lord Have Mercy: That's what it was supposed to be. At the end of the day, it was supposed to be ran as a company. [Real crews] like Wu-Tang - that's some legendary sh-t; Run DMC; Bad Boy, whether or not you like that kind of music is some legendary sh-t; Ruff Ryders; Def Squad, you have Redman, Erick Sermon had his moments, Keith Murray; but see in Flipmode there's nobody that anyone cares about now besides Rah Digga.

BallerStatus.net: I know you did "Home Sweet Home" with M.O.P. a few years back, what's your relationship like with them?

Lord Have Mercy: I'm straight with them. And if I had any business relationship with anybody in the biz it would be with them.

BallerStatus.net: Is it the politics in the industry that prevents dudes like you and M.O.P. from being out there like you should?

Lord Have Mercy: A lot of things, man. We was on tour with Bumpy Knuckles (aka Freddie Foxxx), and he used to be down with [Kool] G. Rap, [Big Daddy] Kane, and Rakim and them. And he saw me and I didn't have no security with me or nothing - he pulled me to the side and we formed a relationship and he was mentoring me. One day we was talking and I guess he was kind of seeing that word was getting around that Flipmode was on some bullsh-t, so he told me "yo dude, I just wanted to let you know that there's a price to pay for being a real n*gga in this game." Basically, [me] being a real man with integrity, I left. I'm not lying to a f--king kid about diamonds and sh-t like that, I'm not doing that. I'm about making dope music. Like M.O.P. for instance, they can make a club record without rhyming about the club. If you notice right now there's more rappers in the game than there are MCs. MCs do what they want, rappers do what they're told. So if everybody's coming out with a song about the club; and a song about bitches; that's all sh-t that these [rappers] are told and supposed to do. So the true artistry in the game is dudes like me & M.O.P. Like Mos Def came back, he having the same problems [as the true MCs are having]. Pharoahe Monch had a big f--kin' record that year ("Simon Says") and it didn't sell what it should have. But what's happening now is we are getting in positions to dictate to the corporate assh--es what to do. Like what Jay-Z does, a button-up on Monday and everybody else has to do it by Tuesday? These dudes get along very easily because they don't know what the f--k to do. So it's so easy to get them to do what you want them to do. It's like a girl (as an example), you don't want one that you have to take to dinner, buy flowers, sweet talk, etc. - that's too much work! (laughs)

BallerStatus.net: Are these the types of things you're channelling through your music/album(s)?

Lord Have Mercy: I basically used a metaphor for this album and labeled it Runaway Slave. Like these dudes don't respect the music and the artists, they respect the billion dollar industry that it is. That's why they be taking all the wack muthaf--kas from all over the place that they signed, put them on MTV and BET and that's why for the past 3 years none of them artists are catalogue type of artists. What I mean by [catalogue type of artists] is artists who YOU look forward to buying their album and hearing from. Like you look at Jadakiss and be like "yo I know dudes is f--kin' hot," so you look forward to those types of albums.

Now, you don't have that. I mean do you REALLY wanna hear another f--kin' album from a Chingy or a J-Kwon?! No disrespect to those dudes, but they're positioning artists and putting 'em out of the game. Artists that come from the heart and soul. Chingy & J-Kwon - they served they purpose 'cause the biz revolves around those [types of] dudes... and they're positioning myself and a bunch of other dudes out the game.

BallerStatus.net: What do you suggest has to happen in order for something to change that situation?

Lord Have Mercy: Not only do you have to master your craft, but you have to be a Russell Simmons or a Dr. Dre and then turn around and be Jay-Z all in one. That's how competitive it is now. I don't really know what's gonna make things better, but I definitely do see that systematically, people that are not from the culture have drawn a line and they determine what's hot. And people that run this sh-t, they are about moving more units than this/that label. They don't care about what's going on in the streets; none of that! They don't care about 11 year-old girls wanting to be strippers 'cause they see it in videos - they don't care about none of that!

But now people can download whole albums and say "f--k the music industry!" So what I'm doing is making my albums so that sonically it's like a movie, so I'll sell you the DVD, which IS the movie, but I'll GIVE you the album so you can put the two together. Like on this album you hear me in the beginning and I'm a slave on the ground, you hear the chains/shackles... but you hear my soul telling me to get up and by the end of the album I'm free. I know what it's like to be a consumer and buy an album, so I make sure to give people their money's worth 'cause if I'm not putting out important music - what the f--k am I doing this sh-t for?

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