Florida native MC MeRCY upholds the importance of unity within hip hop. Founder of iLLustrious Music Group, MeRCY has created a basis for artists to grow and challenge each other, whilst managing to stay humble in the process. He has just released the third instalment of his Prestige series, allowing his vulnerability to ooze through onto The Prestige 3: Blood, Sweat & Cheers.
We chat to MeRCY about his recent project, his experience working with Sean Price, and how he feels about the climate of hip hop today. Ayla Dhyani writes.
You just released The Prestige 3, how does the project compare to your previous works?
I feel The Prestige 3 is my best work to date. It's the most personal album I've done where I made myself completely vulnerable to the music. Flaws and all. I wanted the listener to get a better perspective about me and my insight, musically. Conceptually, this project far surpasses all of my previous work.
How has the response been so far?
The response has been ill. Still getting rave reviews from family, friends and supporters. Like there's really people out there being so devoted and showing their token of appreciation for my music. Whether it’s someone from your local barbershop or someone overseas. Truly grateful.
Tell us how your music journey began.
I grew up in a household full of all types of music. My older brothers were bumpin' all types of sh*t. Punk, rock, hip hop, reggae and soul. I was just fortunate to be caught up in the mix. My oldest brother put me on to hip hop. I heard Mobb Deep ‘Shook Ones’ and that song alone made me want to rap.
You recently recorded a track with Sean Price. How was that experience?
Sean Price is a real real cool dude. Real down to earth but still will lift the earth under your feet. The experience will forever be dope. Just casual rap dudes who like hip hop. We didn't even talk much about the concept of the song. He would tell me about his upcoming album, who he working with, joke here and there and break off. Dude is a top elite MC. I am honoured as well as humbled by the opportunity.
What has been the most monumental moment in your career so far?
There are a few Kodak moments. It's hard to narrow it down to one. I had the pleasure to meet Mobb Deep backstage. Performed with some of my favourites such as The LOX, Action Bronson, Curren$y and Schoolboy Q. Hearing my song getting national spins on the Radio from 99 Jamz to Shade 45. There are so many dope memories and I'm trying to create doper ones. It's the supporters who make it memorable as well. The ones who hit me up constantly and remind me how they enjoy the music or how it changed their lives.
Tell us a bit about iLLustrious Music Group.
iLLustrious Music Group is like a family. A dysfunctional hip hop family. It all started with my in-house producer, Solidified and my close friend and producer Zino. We wanted to make music we grew up to. We just wanted to make a statement with our talent. iLLustrious is basically the Sandlot kids with musical skills. We truly enjoy what we do. Bishop, KoJazz, See. Francis and YoAmanduh are all incredible talented individuals. We challenge each other more than we challenge others. We're outstanding without standing out.
You’ve expressed to be heavily influenced by the Golden Era of hip hop. How do you feel about the climate of hip hop today?
I feel that there's not much soul in hip hop. I feel hip hop is going on rapidly fast pace. You and I don't know what hip hop is going to sound like in the next 3 years. It's constantly growing, constantly changing, and always evolving, which is good. I'm all for growth and development. Process of progress.
Any other projects we can expect from you on the horizon?
Yes. I was actually working on two projects while putting together The Prestige 3. I really can't speak on it. It's still in premature stages. There are a lot of great things in the works and some phenomenally dope stuff, which I am hyped to share. It's all timing and less procrastinating.
What moves you?
There are a lot of things that may move me, but it's really my daughter who dictates my movements. She's been such a blessing and an incredible compass to newfound glory. If it ain't music, then it's Japanese Anime, maybe a comic book, maybe fishing, maybe a conversation ... that would move me. See deeper than thought. Deeper than rap.
Want to hear more from MeRCY?