Out & About

When New Orleans dirty south B-Boy Mystikal left Master P's No Limit franchise and returned to Britney and boy-band bopping Jive's world domination pop machine with 1999's Ghetto Fabulous, certain critical habitués expressed reservations. Skeptics felt it was the case of a young artist making a play for the show before he's ready for prime-time. And it wasn't like a college junior entering the draft early. It was more like a high school star skipping collegiate play altogether to see how he could fare in the big leagues.

Ghetto Fabulous' strong sales debut relieved the suits banking on this young thoroughbred, but musically it wasn't anything especially noteworthy. The production was expectedly a bit more slick, but Mystikal still bragged gangsta gloats over the same sort of Dre-inspired G-funk that colored his early efforts, Mystikal and Mind of Mystikal. It was a little more than a modestly cleaned-up version of his 1997 No Limit outing, Unpredictable, a predictably Master P-ish, stripped-down affair of Glock-rocking beats about bitches and money.

But the MC born Michael Tyler was schooled on a 1980s Nawleans flava of mic-rockers like N.O. and Mannie Fresh. What marked those early cut chemists was a rambunctious, there's-a-party-going-on vibe. And while No Limit, Mystikal, Cash Money and Juvenile solidified the Crescent City as the home of a hardcore, Southern, gangsta style, that rollicking exuberance of old-schoolers like Fresh has always lurked beneath the guns and G-strings of Mystikal's mix. It's a spark that's made him a better rapper than many from the No Limit crew, giving his flow a flair that's unique. And though boisterous braggadocio may accrue street-cred currency, being your own man moves units.

Mystikal proved exactly what his brand of Southern spice had to offer the pop life when the booty-bouncing "Shake Ya Ass" began ruling MTV about a year ago. The album off which this lead single exploded, 2000's Let's Get Ready, was instrumental in extending 1999's Year of the Azz into 2000's Summer of Thong. Mystikal's scream stream-of-conscious delivery and rude-boy sexual attitude gave "Shake Ya Ass" a punch that was part party, part threat, and it's a panache that's all over Let's Get Ready's follow-up single, "Danger (Been So Long)." This persona may still be a little too raw for some pop tarts, but Let's Get Ready provided more than enough power to show everybody what Mystikal's working with.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bret Mccabe