At first listen, Michael Anthony Alexander Hall speaks with
the accent and demeanor of a native New Yorker. Songs such as "Man of the Year" and "Blood
Flavored Vodka" show evidence of a tone and flow packed with the brute force of hardcore '80s New York hip-hop.
But Hall, 29, was born and raised in Coral Springs. However, his three older brothers were born in the Empire State. Hall credits the oldest, John, with bringing hip-hop to his siblings' attention during the rise of Def Jam Records and introducing them to acts such as EPMD and Rakim.
"What really, really captivated me, as far as music, is when I'd first seen the video of Rakim's 'Microphone Fiend,'" said Hall. "I was probably like 10. Just attracted by his demeanor."
Hall spent his middle school and high school years developing his skill as an MC and catching the attention of his oldest brother who gave him the nickname Merciless Mike because of his powerful punchlines.
But it was his mother who gave him the name he is identified by today.
"I was running with it, it was so long and kept saying it, 'Merciless Mike,'" Said Hall. "And then my mom was like, 'You shouldn't be Merciless. You should be MeRCY. You should have the crowd show you mercy.'"
And the reason for the lower case "e"? Hall said it is meant to stand for "Me," putting him before all.
His name, though, has not come without banter.
With the popularity of G.O.O.D. Music's summer hit "Mercy," Hall has at times been the center of jokes by friends and family being called Lamborghini Mercy and Murcielago, referencing the video. Some have the song set as their ringtone in Hall's honor.
Then, of course, there is the obvious question... Will he record his version of the song? In short, no, despite receiving daily requests to do so on Twitter.
"I've written to it, but at the same it's just, it's a lost cause, man," said Hall. "I'm not going to rap to everything that says 'mercy' in it."
In 2011, Hall released three mixtapes: The Prestige, Heroes and Villains EP, a collaborative project with rapper Bishop, and The Prestige 2. But it has been almost nine months since the latter project was released.
"I didn't want to drop another project right after and just overlook," said Hill. "I just wanted to give them time to really appreciate it and then, 'til the point they want more, then I'll go ahead and give them a brand new project."
The hiatus from the booth does not have the rapper worried, even though he turns 30 years old at the end of August and is aware of the fact that his time to make it big is limited.
"To me, yeah, the window may get small," said Hall, "but that proves to me you have to make a strong impact to make it even bigger for you."
Hall cites rappers such as Jay-z, Eminem, and Jay Electronica as those who did not see significant success until their late 20s, early 30s, as well as everyone's new favorite 36-year-old rapper, 2 Chainz.
And his time in between has not gone wasted. Hall has performed at several events in Florida and New York since this year. He recently opened for Action Bronson at Green Room in Fort Lauderdale for the weekly hip-hop night Brown Bag Wednesdays. This December, Hall will be a part of the U.S.S. Brownbag Music Festival At Sea, but not before he begins work on his next project this fall.
But really, what's the rush? "I'm not trying to make music forever but to make forever music," said Hall. "I want to make timeless music. I'm from that era where you play Illmatic or It Was Written it feels refreshing."
Follow Lee Castro on Twitter @LeeMCastro
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