Kanye West's "Mercy" Explained By Phoenix Producer Lifted

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Despite a release date of Tuesday, September 4, and recently unveiled cover art, it's hard to say exactly what to expect from Kanye West's upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer (though "Perfect Bitch," his ode to Kim Kardashian is probably going to be on there).

Rumors indicate a massive guest list, potentially including Frank Ocean, Jay Electronica, Marsha Ambrosius , Q-Tip, Kid Cudi, John Legend, Common, Mr Hudson, Cyhi da Prince, Mos Def, Teyana Taylor, Malik Yusuf, members of Odd Future, Jay-Z, and who-knows-who-else. To be it softly, the record is highly anticipated.

Not even G.O.O.D. Music producer Lifted, who splits his time in Phoenix and Los Angeles, knows what to expect, aside from one concrete detail: It's going to include the mega-hit he produced, the thundering and ominous "Mercy," featuring West, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Pusha T.

Robb Castro
As discussed in our August 2 issue, Lifted, 1/2 of hip-pop due The New F-Os and producer, hooked up with the G.O.O.D. Music folks via Phoenix rapper iRoc and producer/director Che Viscous.

"I got a call from Che -- like, 'G.O.O.D. Music likes one of your joints,' and I'm like, 'Yeah, whatever,'" Lifted says.

"Because we hear shit all the time. I'll go run and tell everyone and it doesn't happen. So I didn't say shit this time. Then I hear Kanye likes it, and I'm like, no way. Shit. This is crazy. Now we're talking. Next call was, 'Kanye wants to sign you' [as a producer]." That joint became "Mercy," which has been certified platinum since its digital debut on April 3, 2012.

The song's prominent hook comes courtesy of YB, one of the clients at Mamera Studios in Phoenix, where Lifted produces and engineers. "He's a young kid, like 18 or 19 now," Lifted says. "When I made the beat I needed a vocal to sample. I took his ['Lambo'] verse and pieces of it and made it the 'Mercy' chorus."

Don't be surprised to hear more YB in Lifted's future beats: since the explosion of "Mercy," he's been a go-to vocalist for the producer. "His tone is so crazy to pitch down, to screw. His voice normal is cool, but there's something special about his tone shifted down."

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