“Joseph Stalin of this rap shit”

You don’t know who Lord Have Mercy is. You can’t know. In today’s instant-gratification-information-overload-everyone-and-their-mother-is-a-rapper-all-you-need-is-a-myspace world, how could you possibly be expected to remember a forgotten member of Busta Rhymes’ erstwhile group the Flipmode Squad?

lord have mercy these men dont cry

Lord Have Mercy is one of many enigmas of the late 90s New York rap scene. Circa 1999, hundreds of Lord Have posters covered New York’s walls and streetlights. He had parlayed a number of remarkable guest appearances on Busta Rhymes songs into a strong underground buzz and was preparing his album, Thee Ungodly Hour.

Then.

Nothing.

Lord Have disappeared only to reemerge with a whimper a few years a later (he released a series of mixtapes around 2004, some of which repackaged material from the Ungodly era).

I was always fascinated by Lord Have Mercy and so I’ve remembered him even in the absence of any notable solo releases. I eagerly anticipated his guest appearances on Busta’s records when I was a child. His lyrics are not the most complex or interesting, his flow is fairly rudimentary. But that voice. Oh man that voice. Like Chali 2na, Lord Have’s voice booms with divine bass, a heavy voice that demands to be listened to. LMH also had a penchant for bizarre imagery and metaphors that highlighted just how weird Busta and his whole crew were before the turn of the millennium. I mean he called himself the JOSEPH STALIN OF THIS RAP SHIT. That’s tight.

Enjoy a few of Lord Have Mercy’s finer moments after the break.

Youtube doesn’t seem to have much non-single album material released by Busta Rhymes from the mid to late 90s, but if you can find “We Could Take it Outside,” “Get Off My Block,” and “Against All Odds” you’ll get a good sense of Lord Have Mercy’s style and perhaps understand why there was a buzz surrounding him. For now, the only track I could find on which Busta and Lord were united is “Flipmode Squad Meets Def Squad,” an 8 minute posse epic from Busta’s debut album The Coming (and perhaps my favorite performance by Lord Have Mercy). Lord Have Mercy comes in at around 5:25. He kills this one, straight owns it. “Lay in the cut like c-sections.” Damn. Nasty man.

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