Mercedes had one of the best album covers of No Limit Records’ discography. Unfortunately, I didn’t remember any songs from her 1999 debut, Rear End until I did my research on one of the features of her biggest song. Mckinley Phipps Jr AKA Mac was a young rapper from New Orleans that was the city’s version of Nas. Before joining No Limit in 1997, he was more likely to join the Native Tongues movement. After success with his debut album, Shell Shocked, his follow-up, World War III, and several collabs with his label-mates, including a spot in the 504 Boyz, Mac’s life would unravel forever. In 2001, he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 30 years. NPR’s Louder Than A Riot podcast told his life story, his case/trial, and the fallout years later in three episodes.
While skipping around, listening through songs from Mac, I found a tune that I recognized. Mercedes’ “I Can Tell” feat Mac and Jahbo definitely was played on the radio when I was in elementary school. There was a time when a song played on the radio and there was no research after to find out who sang it or how to play it again. If it was played on the radio, you believed that you would hear it again because it must be popular, you don’t just hear everything on the radio. Now I know the name of the song and its creator.
Mercedes was a Xavier College student from Detroit when she met Kane & Abel at a talent show. The twin brothers invited her to the studio where she met Master P and was signed immediately afterward. After the singer was taught to rap, they created her album, showcasing her vocal ability and rapping skills, in a week. I repeat, Mercedes’ debut album, Rear End was created in just seven days. A year later, Mz Lady Mercedes quit the music industry and bounced to be a mom. 22 years later, “I Can Tell” is still one of the best R&B duets between a man and a woman featuring a random verse from a third-party guest. Enjoy!