Don’t make me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.
Bruce Banner was famous for uttering this preemptive catch phrase before he morphed from a harmless nondescript white dude into the raging beast known as the Incredible Hulk. Four years removed from his stint with the Flip Mode Squad, stripped of an Elektra Records recording contract, and with an unheard “The Ungodly Hour” LP sitting on a shelf in a label office somewhere, Lord Have Mercy has a lot to be angry about.
And so Lord Have preps the baking New York City summer streets for his new street album, Runaway Slave- released through his self-distributed Sword and Shield Records- with all intensive purposes of addressing the whispers, and unleashing the inner beast that has been raging inside him after years of paying dues.
Allhiphop caught up with Lord Have Mercy on the eve of Runaway Slave’s release to talk to him about his feelings towards the industry, the new street album, and why he left the Flip Mode Squad. The hip hop Incredible Hulk is in the building!
Allhiphop: So tell me about what you’ve been up to since you’ve been away?
LHM: Really since the date of my release, January 15, 2000, I’ve been building my own. I ran around with this “platinum” rapper and that “platinum” rap crew. Everybody I dealt with was always the premier, the elite of the time, so I learned my lessons by watching them make the mistakes that they made. I was ultimately building the right vehicle for what I do in particular. I’m a certain type of dude, I always knew artistically what I wanted to do, I just needed to be in an environment that was going to move toward that goal, so four years later we have Sword and Shield Records.
Allhiphop: For the people who don’t know, explain how your situation went down as far as leaving Flipmode?
LHM: Well at the end of the day, I’m not a professional homeboy. I don’t share the lead and they knew who I was because my name and what I do speaks for itself. Everyone knows who Lord Have is, what he has, and what he’s built. What I’m doing is not equipped to fit anybody else, but me. I’m the hamburger, they’re the French fries. The way I’m building it is either you’re at my level or you’re above my level. Ice-pirate is my executive producer, he’s my Dr. Dre. He’s produced major records for me, and is to a certain degree above my level because I can’t produce like him. The Flip Mode situation, by now the world sees what Flip Mode is, and it is what it is. In a nutshell, I’m my own person, I do what I do like I want to do it. As I said I’m not a cheerleader, I’m not a homeboy. I’m Lord Have Mercy, that’s what I do. It’s time for me to go ahead, be the man, and do what I do, it was always like that anyway. I mean, you know me to a degree so you know I’m a humble guy, but from day one, every MC I’ve been around has been afraid of me. Point blank. A lot of times people come up to me saying “You don’t realize how many fans you’ve got.” I’m not really even focusing on that, and still I’ve got people that have more than me and they’re afraid of me, that just wasn’t for me.
Allhiphop: I just want to backtrack a little, because you talked about being on tour and not really being with Flipmode, so how did you get down with them in the first place?
LHM: Well Busta is from around my way and we had a few people we both knew. The producer Backspin, well, Leaders of the New School was his group and he was working with Rampage. Then one of the people that I knew from around my way, him and Busta were in elementary school together so they went back. They would always talk about me because I’m very elusive if you don’t know what I look like and you don’t know me you’re not going to be able to talk to me because I don’t move like that. I’m not an industry person. I was messing with another group that’s washed up now, but was very hot at the time. My man called me over….
Allhiphop: So how close a friendship did you and Busta have?
LHM: Umm, friendship is a very strange word because nobody in this s### is friends. If you meet someone in this music business he’s not your friend. I take that word real serious because I know people that died over thinking someone was their friend. He and I are cool and on paper we’re almost the same s###, he’s like a year and ten days older than me. We have a lot in common. A lot of similarities and me and him are cool, but he’s not like me. I can’t push someone to be something he’s not, and vice versa. If you ain’t MOP, Sword and Shield, and we ain’t doing no music together, you could be on fire and I wouldn’t p### on you. I’d go across the street and sell marshmallows.
Allhiphop: So why have you been away so long?
Lord Have Mercy: A lot of different reasons, I had to take off for personal time because I’ve been doing this since 92. I had 7 years, no vacation. I had people die in my family and I wouldn’t go to the funerals. I would just say ok give me two more songs and I’ll send money. I did a lot of things to make sure I did this the way it’s supposed to get done and subsequently my personal life suffered. Also Sword and Shield Records is the last place for me and whatever happens, happens. I’m not signing anywhere else, I’m going to do maybe four or five Lord Have Mercy albums, 2 Rock albums, and a joint venture.
Allhiphop: So who’s really hollering at you right now, or who are some people in the game that you might want to work with?
LHM: I’m definitely happy for Roc-a-Fella, but there’s maybe only four or five record companies in this whole hip hop game period, everybody and they’re mother got a label now. I would work with any major label on a certain level. Interscope is probably better because I’m definitely gonna be somewhat of a Marilyn Manson in this hip hop game, as disturbing as I can be, but still make banging joints. I can’t work with just anybody though because certain labels are not really into the controversy that I’m into. I might f### around and make another Ice T cop killing record and cause some other s### to jump off.
Allhiphop: Earlier you were talking a little about your rage, is there anybody in the game right now that your harboring animosity towards?
LHM: The thing I like about what I do is nobody needs to know, but you. There were producers that I plugged people into, now they’re working with this one and that one. That’s okay though, I don’t care that we don’t work together anymore because they were not musically at my level. Now I push myself vocally, lyrically, and subjectively, so when I finally reveal or get at these dudes if I still want to get at them they look like nothing to me, like L why are you even talking about them?
Allhiphop: So who are some artists in Hip-hop that have showed you a lot of love over the years?
LHM: First and foremost, MOP. They have become like my second family without question and I think that’s due to the fact that they saw how I moved. When we were on tour together in 98 they noticed that every time they saw me I was by myself. They would see Busta and the Flipmode Squad and then they would see me. That kind of built a mutual respect for me as an MC but that means nothing in the game it’s all the type of person you are. Those were the ones where whatever function they would be at I would feel obligated to be there. If they had a studio session I would come through. I felt like I needed to be there, so MOP is really the only ones I feel game-wise. Jada and Styles are cool peoples. Red and Meth too, I’ve seen them since my hiatus. But primarily MOP.
Paul: Do you have any timeline for when you’re going to put the full-length LP out?
LHM: Hopefully sometime in 2005. Like I said I’m really done with this s### on certain levels. I’m just fulfilling my obligations to the people. I just need a business situation monetarily to take care of what I need to take care of. I really don’t need to go out there and buy four hundred thousand dollar beats, because I can make million dollar records with a dude that lives with his mom.
Allhiphop: Any last words?
LHM: I’m back so look for the kid, because I’ll be all over the place.