Mystikal in September 2016
|Michael Lawrence Tyler|
September 22, 1970|
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Michael Lawrence Tyler (born September 22, 1970), known professionally as Mystikal, is an American rapper and actor from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Mystikal's family moved to New Orleans when he was young. His father, who ran a small neighborhood store, died when he was seven. As a teenager he got caught up in the fads of the breakdancing and toyed around with rudimentary rhyming and rapping calling himself "Mystikal Mike". He attended Cohen High School, and was an average student fond of science, especially astronomy. LL Cool J became one of his idols as he grew more into rapping. After graduation, Mystikal joined the United States Armed Forces enlisted as a Combat engineer where he served in the Gulf War during combat. While in the Army, he took psychology and business classes, but spent more time performing raps in NCO clubs. After being discharged, he came home to New Orleans and was hired as an undercover security guard at the Woolworth's in the Carrollton Shopping Center. Before going into the service, he had laid down some vocal tracks with his friends in 3-9 Posse, which turned up on one of the group's albums on a small local label. Because of his 3-9 Posse association, he was invited to be one of the local acts who opened for Run-D.M.C. and Doug E. Fresh at an outdoor concert at the Theme Center. Leroy "Precise" Edwards, the house producer for Big Boy Records, was in the audience, and was blown away by Mystikal's one-song performance of "Not That Nigga." After the performance Mystikal was granted a contract.
Mystikal's debut album, Mystikal, was released on New Orleans-based independent record label Big Boy Records in 1994. The album was one of Big Boy's most successful and gained major success for Mystikal. In 1995, he found himself involved in conflict with fellow New Orleans rappers signed to rival Cash Money Records, including U.N.L.V., Lil Wayne & B.G.. They dissed him on tracks like "Drag 'Em in Tha River" by U.N.L.V. and "Fuck Big Boy" by The B.G.'z. He struck back with the diss "Beware" which was on his second album, Mind of Mystikal. Mystikal's sister, Michelle Tyler (with whom he had close ties), sang the chorus on "Not That Nigga" and her fate became a major influence on Mystikal's music after her untimely death. The songs "Dedicated To Michelle Tyler", "Murder" (both on Mind of Mystikal), "Murder 2", "Shine" (both on Unpredictable) and "Murder III" (on Let's Get Ready) refer to her murder. It wasn't long after their beef that Mystikal and Lil Wayne decided to squash it and become collaborators.
Mystikal signed to Jive Records and released Mind of Mystikal in 1995. He signed to No Limit Records in 1996 and released Unpredictable in November 1997. He appeared on many of the No Limit albums released from 1997 through a chunk of 1999. In late 1998, he released Ghetto Fabulous. That was his last album with the label, and he left later in 1999 to go on his own.
In 1999 he began recording his album after leaving No Limit. Let's Get Ready was released in 2000 and contained "Danger (Been So Long)", which featured rising pop star Nivea, and was the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs number-one single in June 2001. Let's Get Ready debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making it Mystikal's only chart-topping album to date. The album also featured the popular, Neptunes-produced hit "Shake Ya Ass". The song retained cult-like popularity and can be heard in the background of numerous movies.
Mystikal's most recent solo release was the 2001 album Tarantula, which contained the hit single, "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against The Wall)". Though it presented Mystikal's typical and funky flow style, which had the distinction of drawing comparison to legendary R&B soul screamers Little Richard and James Brown, the song also saw a blending of jazz and swing elements with hip-hop. The well received album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 2003, and Mystikal was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance that same year. Mystikal was also featured prominently in the single, "Move Bitch" by Ludacris as well as "I Don't Give a Fuck" by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz along with Krayzie Bone, both in 2002. In 2003 he starred in the film 13 Dead Men. In 2003, Mystikal was indicted on charges of sexual battery and extortion. On January 15, 2004, he was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform sex acts. He served the full six years and was released on January 14, 2010.
Mystikal headlined a concert at the Mahalia Jackson Theater of the Performing Arts on Mardi Gras, February 16, 2010. Mystikal's first song after being released from prison was an underground track with former No Limit labelmate Fiend entitled "I Don't Like You". A few weeks later, Atlanta-based, New Orleans-born R&B artist Lloyd released "Set Me Free" featuring Mystikal. The music video for "Set Me Free" was released on May 18, 2010 and was shot in New Orleans, primarily from the Calliope Projects.
In an interview in May 2010, he stated that he was still obligated to Jive Records for one more album and would be taking the necessary time to ensure the album would be his best to date. He made a promo song called "Papercuts" featuring Fiend and Lil Wayne. In 2011, he performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos. Mystikal and Busta Rhymes were signed to Cash Money Records by Birdman on November 16 the same year. His first single for the label, "Original", was released shortly thereafter and featured new label-mates Birdman and Lil Wayne.
On June 26, 2003, Mystikal pleaded guilty to sexual battery and extortion. On January 15, 2004, Mystikal was sentenced to six years in state prison after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform sex acts. The rapper and two bodyguards forced the woman to perform oral sex, and accused her of stealing $80,000 in checks. As part of a plea bargain, all three pleaded guilty. Mystikal initially claimed that the incident was consensual, but a videotape of the incident was later found at his home shortly after the charges were made. Negotiations during the trial held the videotape from being entered as evidence and Mystikal agreed to the plea bargain offered by the prosecution, avoiding the mandatory life sentence for sexual battery in Louisiana and expecting to receive probation. However, the case took a twist when the judge viewed the videotape at the sentencing, took into account Mystikal's two prior arrests (for drug and gun possession), and had him remanded into custody to begin serving a six-year sentence immediately. Mystikal's bodyguards, Leland Ellis and Vercy Carter, also pleaded guilty to sexual battery.
In August 2005, while incarcerated on the state sexual battery and extortion charges, Mystikal was charged federally with two misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns for 1998 and 1999. On January 12, 2006, he was convicted in federal court of the tax offenses, but was allowed to serve the one-year federal sentence concurrent with his six-year state sentence. Mystikal was incarcerated at Louisiana's Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. On January 19, 2006, Mystikal was denied parole at a parole board hearing. On January 11, 2007, Mystikal was released from custody on the federal misdemeanor tax convictions (as his one-year sentence had expired), but he remained in custody on the six-year sentence for the Louisiana state felony convictions. The news of his release caused confusion among fans who heard the news and mistakenly thought he had been released on parole. He was released January 14, 2010. After his release, Mystikal was registered as a sex offender.
After his release Mystikal stated:
I was gone so long, all the things I achieved, all the accolades I attained, it felt like it was a dream. It felt like I'd never done that stuff. But watch how I shake this world up now -- I want reparations.
On February 22, 2012, Mystikal was arrested again following a dispute with his domestic partner and was later given a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse battery. He was detained for nine days and then released on bail. On April 16, he was given a three-month jail sentence for violating the terms of his probation he was given following his release from prison in January 2010. He was given credit for the nine days already served, reducing his confinement to 81 days. He began serving his sentence on May 14 at the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail. During his incarceration, he appeared in court to be heard on the domestic battery charges as well as for a hearing to determine child support payments for his two youngest children. Mystikal was released from jail in August 2012.