It was the kind of news that was indeed eyebrow raising. Mystikal, the bombastic, animated MC who came to prominence in the late 90’s and early 00’s as a member of Master P’s influential southern hip-hop imprint No Limit Records signs up with former rival label Cash Money Records. For many fans that can recall the fierce battles between the two New Orleans rap powerhouses the thought of Mystikal breaking bread with Lil Wayne and Birdman was a shocker. But according to the “Shake Ya Ass” rapper the unlikely union was long in the making, even during his six-year prison bid. And he credits Young Money’s general Lil Wayne for making the process a smooth transition.
“It was actually materializing for a while now,” Mystikal tells VIBE, adding that, “the conversation started when I was going through my incarceration. And those conversations continued once I came home. The right things happened and the right kind of deal was made. What I got from Wayne was don’t be to astounded by what you are seeing because this is nothing. Let’s go make history. That’s a young dude telling me that. Coming from him and given the big things he’s doing right now, that was right on for me.”
Mystikal continues of the seemingly unstoppable stable that includes superstars Drake, Nicki Minaj and newly signed vet Busta Rhymes: “Even Ray Charles could see what was happening over at Cash Money [laughs]. The minute I went over there and stepped my foot in the studio I knew it was real. I never thought I would go from No Limit to Cash Money. It was like God was leading me. Imagine what I can do over here.”
It’s been a long journey for Mystikal. The platinum high-octane spitter was jailed, along with two of his bodyguards after pleading guilty to sexual battery and extortion for an incident that occurred in 2002. Mystikal had threatened to turn in his former hairstylist in to police for cashing $80,000 worth of unauthorized checks from the rapper’s bank account. The stylist was then pushed to having sex with all three men in exchange for their silence. Mystikal pleaded guilty to forcing the hairstylist to perform sexual acts. He says he has since learned from his ordeal.
“The no. 1 thing that I learned is you have to watch your friends,” he explains. “Watch your surroundings and watch the people that you cry out to for help. Because by the time they come your situation will become far worse. I have to be really careful who I have around me.”
As for a new album, an excited Mystikal says expect a new project in the mode of his first Cash Money single “Original,” featuring Weezy and Birdman—a track that was recently premiered on Funk Master Flex’s radio show on New York’s Hot 97.
“It’s about to be crazy,” he glows. “We are projecting a new album from me in about April.”—Keith Murphy