Image Credit: CRAIGYOUNG (Screenshot from MYSTIKAL "FOOL'S GOLD: Day Off" MIAMI), CC BY 3.0
Michael Lawrence Tyler (born September 22, 1970), better known by his stage name Mystikal, is an American rapper, and actor from New Orleans. A Persian Gulf war veteran who rose to stardom as a protégé of the rap impresario Master P, Tyler combined powerful, passionate vocals that would range from a conspiratorial whisper to vein-popping screams in the course of a few words, and was constantly accelerating and decelerating his delivery. The sound was new, but not unprecedented, as Tyler's vocals were reminiscent of R&B screamers like Little Richard and James Brown, using piano and saxophone sounds to accentuate the delivery. Mystikal's debut album, Mystikal, was released on New Orleans-based independent record label Big Boy Records in 1994. He found himself in conflict with fellow New Orleans rappers signed to Cash Money Records including U.N.L.V., Lil Wayne and 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 sophomore effort Mind of Mystikal. Mystikal's sister, Michelle Tyler (whom he had close ties with), 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", "Murderer" (both on Mind of Mystikal), "Murder 2", "Shine" (both on Unpredictable) and "Murder III" (on Let's Get Ready) refer to her murder. Mystikal signed to Jive Records and released Mind of Mystikal in 1995. He signed to Master P's No Limit Records in 1996 and released Unpredictable in 1997. He appeared on many of the No Limit albums in 1997-1998. In 1998 he released Ghetto Fabulous. That was his last album with the label, and he left in early 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 unique flow style, 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 alluded to the fact that he would be taking the necessary time to ensure the album would be his best to date. He also stated that he had not come up with a name for the album, but stated that he was considering The Big Shake Back. He made a promo song called "Papercuts" featuring once again Fiend and the unexpected 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, Michael "Mystikal" Tyler pleaded guilty to sexual battery and extortion. On January 15, 2004, Tyler was sentenced to 6 years in state prison after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform sex acts. He also admitted to extortion. The rapper and two bodyguards forced the woman to perform oral sex, and accused her of stealing $80,000 in checks. Tyler initially held firm that the incident was consensual. A videotape of the incident was found at his home shortly after the charges were initially made. Negotiations during the trial held the videotape from being entered as evidence and Tyler agreed to the plea bargain offered by the prosecution, avoiding the mandatory life sentence for sexual battery in Louisiana and expecting to receive probation. The case took a twist when the judge viewed the videotape at the sentencing, took into account Tyler's two prior arrests (for drug and gun possession) and had him remanded into custody to begin serving a six-year sentence immediately. Bodyguards Leland "Pokie" Ellis and Vercy "V" 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. He currently resides in Prarieville, Louisiana. After his release Mystikal stated: â€œ 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. â€ 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 that he was given following his release from prison in January 2010. He was given credit for the nine days already served reducing his confinement from 90 days 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 actual domestic abuse battery charges as well as for a hearing to determine child support payments for his two youngest children. Mystikal was released from jail in mid-August 2012.
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