Album: Cruel Summer
Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam
Producer: Lifted, Kanye West, Mike Dean, Mike Will, Hudson Mohawke
The first taste of Cruel Summer was everything we expected it would be, and more. In an era where big name collaborations are impossibly hyped on social media and unfairly criticized for not living up to unrealistic standards, "Mercy" suffers none of that disappointment. Big Sean leads off with arguably the wittiest, most entertaining verse of the summer and introduces us to the words "assquake," "asstate," and "asstray." Pusha T fills his role as the the team's most consistent scorer with a verse that stands out, if only because it's so technically sound.
Kanye West shows up for what feels like a cameo, and it couldn't have been executed better. The beat switches to Scarface-esque synths, and with it, so does the record's general pace. Yeezy slows things down for a moment to talk about needing $50 million from his record label and how he gets "the most press" despite not doing any. It's all an elaborate build-up for G.O.O.D. affiliate, 2 Chainz, who closes the song in epic fashion, and shows why he can charge $100K for a guest verse.
In the end, the record feels like a legitimate hip-hop event. With (mostly) friendly competition from YMCMB and MMG looming, the implications of the G.O.O.D. Music crew coming together for the undisputed song of the summer are so much greater than simply getting a hot track some airplay. Kanye and his team set themselves apart from the pack with "Mercy." They succeeded in proving to often skeptical music consumers that sometimes hype is a good thing, and when it comes to posse cuts, we'll remember this one forever.