The artist who goes by the stage name of Mystikal was born Michael L. Tyler on September 22nd, 1970. Mystikal grew up in the 12th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, and attended the cities Walter L. Cohen High School. Following his graduation from high school in 1988, Mystikal enlisted himself in the United States Army serving as a combat engineer detecting mines during Operation Desert Storm of the Persian Gulf War. The war lasted from late 1990 to early 1991, and was started due to conflicts between Iraq and coalition forces from 35 nations, led primarily by the United States, in order to liberate Kuwait.
Mystikal later switched his talents to music and dropped his self-titled debut album "Mystikal" via Big Boy Records, a local New Orleans based independent record label. The album was released on June 20, 1994 and managed to grab the attention of Jive Records, who signed him later that same year. Mystikal's sister, Michelle Tyler, who sang the chorus on "Not That Nigga" was murdered when she was stabbed by her boyfriend, Damion Neville prior to the "Mystikal" album release. The songs "Dedicated To Michelle Tyler", and "Murder 2" from the Mind of Mystikal and Unpredictable albums, respectively, refer to his sister's murder.
After signing to Jive Mystikal soon released his official, major-label debut, "Mind of Mystikal", on February 1, 1996. The album became a major hit on the rap underground scene, just going gold, but more importantly the album impressed No Limit Records CEO, and fellow rapper, Master P. Master P, also a New Orleans natives, signed Mystikal to No Limit and the union between the two artists produced Mystikal's next album, "Unpredictable". The album was released in the fall of 1997 and helped the rapper build a substantial following and critical praise by selling well and eventually been certified as Platinum.
His next album, and also his 2nd with No Limit Records was"Ghetto Fabulous" which followed in early 1999. Again the album suppassed his previous effort falling just short of debuting at number one on the album charts and eventually been certified as Platinum.
Mystikal wasted no time in issuing a follow-up though when his "Let's Get Ready" appeared in the fall of 2000, as his first album without the No Limit Family. As expected the album eclipsed his preceding releases in sales terms, with help of the Neptunes-produced hit single "Shake Ya Ass", a track which MTV had on rotation before the album even hit the streets. The album topped the Billboard charts and has sold over 2 million copies, shifting a massive 330,663 copies in its opening week, and was certified double platinum in the U.S. as a result. "Let's Get Ready" also contained the hit single "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 before it was knocked of the top by the now classic "Ms. Jackson" by fellow southerners OutKast. "Let's Get Ready" demonstrated Mystikal's wide-reaching ambitions and talents that had only been hinted at in successive releases, eliminating the No Limit stigma and finally making his unique rhyme delivery cross over to the masses.
Mystikal's fifth, and most recent solo release was in the form of "Tarantula", released on December 18, 2001 with Jive Records. The album featured production from Scott Storch, Rockwilder, The Neptunes, and Mystikal himself and contains the hit singles "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall)", which was one of 2002's hottest singles, "Tarantula", and "If It Ain't Live, It Ain't Me". The album's highest Billboard 200 chart position was #25 in 2002, and it reached #4 on Billboard's Top R&B;/Hip-Hop Albums chart that same year. Tarantula was then certified Gold by the RIAA in 2002.
The album was well received by critics alike earning a 4/5 from the All Music Guide, been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 2003, and Mystikal himself been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance that same year.
As with too many artists within Hip Hop things took a turn for the worse for ever rising artist the following year. On January 16, 2004, Mystikal was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform sex acts, and admitting to extortion. Mystikal and two bodyguards forced the woman to perform oral sex, after they accused her of stealing $80,000 in checks. Mystikal initially denied the assault, but confessed after a videotape of the crime was found at his home. Bodyguards Leland "Pokie" Ellis and Vercy "V" Carter also pled guilty to sexual battery.
This didnt stop Mystikal's skills reaching his fans with another album full of hits. On August 10, 2004 just months after his sentencing "Prince of the South...The Hits" was released featuring the best Mystikal joints so far, a greatest hits collection, along with the new single "Oochie Pop."
The album failed to help Mystikal with his run-ins with the law however, and 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 12th 2006, he was convicted in federal court of these tax offenses, but was allowed to serve the one year federal sentence concurrent with his six year state sentence. Mystikal (or prison number 00469659) is currently incarcerated at Louisiana's Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, located in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. 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 after his one-year sentence had expired, but he remains in custody on the 6-year sentence for the Louisiana state felony convictions. Lets hope that the talented rapper has learnt from his mistakes and can use the experiences to good effect on the mic upon his release.
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