In a track that now seems eerily prescient, the video for T.I.’s “No Mercy” seems to foreshadow the rapper’s return to prison.
The title tune to his new album is about his initial incarceration from a 2007 felony gun possession charge, according to a number of reports. Lyrics such as “Tell the judge if he throwed [sic] the book at me/Make it the Bible...loyal beyond belief to my detriment/it’s so vital I change or blow opportunities.”
T.I., who is back in prison for violating his probation, then invokes both 2Pac, including questioning if his near-biblical suffering means he is the “second coming of Pac,” as well as Princess Diana, although that reference seems to be more for the sake of the rhyme “I just ask that I can make my peace with god and say goodbye/For the world like Lady Di.”
The video keeps with the religious theme as T.I. enters a church seeking some kind of redemption and mercy, although deeply aware that “nightmares have become his dreams.” And how handy is it that The-Dream is there to sing the refrain about “letting me go,” so he can fulfill his destiny.
It’s a compelling, often beautifully shot clip, especially with the sun streaming through the stained glass, T.I. makes a convincing case that he has learned from his crime and time--although that begs the question of how did he end up in prison again? Is it really his destiny?