This single from Kanye's G.O.O.D. Friday music series is the first song from the G.O.O.D. Music album featuring artists from West's label. G.O.O.D. Big Sean and Pusha T. also show up on the cut, whilst Def Jam rapper 2 Chainz jumps in for the final verse. The chief producer is Kanye protégé Lifted, whilst West also helped man the boards. "Mercy" was released at midnight on Friday, April 7, 2012, which was actually the real Good Friday.
After finding success as a producer, West looked to pursue a career as a rapper and solo artist, but struggled to get a record deal. He regularly played demos of his solo material to Chris Anokute, then A&R at Def Jam, bemoaning the fact that no one was taking him seriously as a rapper. On this track West compares those early negotiations with the label, with his current position as founder of Def Jam imprint G.O.O.D. Music, whereby the senior label have to satisfy him in every way to stop him from quitting. "I threw suicides on the private jet/ You know what that mean, I'm fly to death," he rhymes, "I step in Def Jam building like I'm the s---/ Tell 'em give me 50 million or I'ma quit/ Most rappers taste level ain't at my waist level." West's verse also finds him boasting about his riches and model girlfriends, as well as baiting other, less successful rappers.
The song starts with a vocal sampling from the late Fuzzy Jones' intro for Super Beagle's "Dust A Soundboy." Sadly the Don of Dubplate Intros is with us no more as he passed away in 2005 after being hit by a car while riding his bike in Kingston, Jamaica. However, Fuzzy's memory remains as his braggadoccio introductions have hyped up many a dancehall classic.
The song's black and white music video was directed by Nabil Elderkin. A masked West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz all appear in the clip as well as GOOD Music artists Kid Cudi, Mr. Hudson, CyHi the Prynce, Teyana Taylor and D'Banj.