Sunday, August 8, 2010

LA - New Orleans rapper Mystikal on the comeback trail after six years in prison

Original Article

I find it so hypocritical that when someone who is not rich and famous commits a sex crime, everyone is calling them a monster, pedophile, sick, scum, etc, but when it's the rich, famous, or politicians, like Michael "Mystikal" Tyler, you see no harsh words or anything in the article, it's all idol worship and praise!


By Keith Spera

BATON ROUGE -- In a discrete recording studio stashed near a busy highway, Michael “Mystikal ” Tyler boils down six years of prison to three minutes.

As a new Mystikal recording titled “B---- I’m In Jail” booms from the speakers, he raps along to his rapid-fire, recorded bark of a voice and pantomimes the lyrics like a silent film on fast-forward: Hands cuffed behind his back. Sad farewell. Toiling in the prison garden. Parole denied.

The song symbolizes where Tyler, rap’s Rip Van Winkle, finds himself in the summer of 2010: Drawing inspiration from an episode that might have ended his career, in an effort to rekindle it.

Before his 2004 imprisonment for sexual battery, Tyler was New Orleans’ most formidable rap export. In the fall of 2000, his “Let’s Get Ready” replaced Madonna’s “Music” as the nation’s No. 1 album. He accumulated Grammy nominations, gold records and magazine covers. Mariah Carey traveled to New Orleans to shoot a video with him. He was the self-proclaimed Prince of the South.

But his high-flying life crashed overnight. Fame, fortune and the freedom to indulge his desires were replaced by three hots and a cot, courtesy of the Louisiana penal system.

In a pop music universe where fads come and go in six months, six years is an eternity. When Tyler went to prison, Lil Wayne was little known and MySpace, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter had yet to revolutionize social media and the music industry.

Tyler was released from the David Wade Correctional Center in Homer in January, but he is not entirely free. He remains on probation, and must receive permission from parole officers to travel outside Baton Rouge, where he lives. He must also register as a sex offender.

Having paid his debt to society, Tyler is determined to reclaim his place in the pop music pantheon. In June, he electrified the audience during the 2010 VH1 Hip Hop Honors salute to Percy “Master P” Miller, for whose No Limit Records Tyler once recorded. A guest turn with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell earned an ovation.

Fifteen new songs, recorded with producer KLC, are in various stages of completion. He spent last week auditioning musicians for the band he plans to use during performances, including a headlining gig Thursday, Aug. 12 at the House of Blues.

On a recent afternoon at KLC’s Baton Rouge studio, Tyler spoke at length about his incarceration, how his life has changed, and what lies ahead. The moment he entered prison, he says, he left behind all trappings of Mystikal, the swaggering rap star, and became Michael Tyler once again.

A failure to distinguish between the two is in large part what landed him in prison.

It was a case of Michael Tyler acting like Mystikal,” Tyler suggests. “I don’t know what he was acting like."

But I know it cost both of them. It cost both personas a great deal.”