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In 1999  Lord Have Mercy’s The Ungodly Hour was one of the most anticipated albums in hip-hop.

The former member of Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad had an unmistakable baritone voice, mashed on tracks with M.O.P and  induced screwfaces across the boroughs of NYC and beyond with tracks like “Wicked Ways” and his war cry, “Paint Your Face.”

The latter was a Nottz produced musical massacre inspired by the atrocities suffered by Native Americans at the hands of the Pilgrims. caught up with Lord Have as he prepares his return to music (The Ungodly Hour was never released officially) in 2011 and asked him to recall the making of “Paint Your Face” and his thoughts on the Thanksgiving holiday.

Everything that I do is about natural things that take place. I’m Jamaican so I know about the Rastafarian culture and they have the tradition of “if you can’t grow it don’t eat it.” So I’m a big fan of the Native American culture [as well] and when the beat came on I started doing the chorus and it had that feel to it:”New York Warriors, paint your face!”

We started talking about doing a pre-visual before the single and thought it would be crazy to do a true vibe of what Thanksgiving really was. “The pilgrims came over and they had lunch with the Indians” No! Small pox in blankets is the crazy shit that was going on!

So the concept was that the men went out to hunt and the women were taking care of the village and when the men came back the village was slaughtered. So all the men “painted their faces” and went to the pilgrims and put the mash down on them.

[But] I got hesitant about doing the visual because Heltah Skeltah had that song where they painted their face (Operation Lockdown) and they smashed that sh*t to pieces. I said If I cant kill that then I can’t touch it. If I couldn’t get Hype Williams to do the whole pilgrim thing with the black hat and buckle I couldn’t touch it.

Thanksgiving is good because it puts everybody together but when you’re dealing with commerce you’re never telling the truth.  They turned Martin Luther King into Santa Clause. This is the same man you didn’t want to honor in Arizona. Tell the truth about what happened at thanksgiving. It wasn’t all gravy.  No pun intended. What its supposed to mean is good. I give thanks every day for the food I eat every day at every meal. But the truth about what Thanksgivng was needs to be put out there.
As told to Jerry L Barrow

Check out Lord Have Mercy’s “Thee Legend Began” and catch up with him at his site!


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