It's been 15 years since Mystikal released his seminal album, Let's Get Ready. Propelled by smash hits "Shake Ya Ass" and "Danger (Been So Long)," the record went multi-platinum and introduced the world to the rapper's gruff but highly infectious style.
But in 2004, at the height of his success, Mystikal was sentenced to six years in prison for charges related to sexual battery and extortion ("People that know me, they see me through that shit," he tells City Pages). Since then, the New Orleans-based firebrand MC has been tepidly rebuilding his career, working his way back into the spotlight and doing his best to stay out of his own way. Earlier this year, he provided lead vocals for "Feel Right," one of the singles on Mark Ronson's latest album, Uptown Special, and currently has an in-the-works album set to feature rap mogul Pharrell.
To celebrate his brand-new Rhymesayers debut, Liability, Twin Cities party-boy rap star Prof will host an all-day blowout — Prof Outdoors 2 — Saturday at Cabooze Plaza featuring Mystikal, Murs, and Denzel Curry.
City Pages got the similarly booty-minded Prof and Mystikal together for a conference call to talk about new albums, collaborations, and the state of modern hip-hop.
On their new albums...
Prof: "This new album [Liability] is my very best. It's been three years since I released anything, so I took a lot of time on this record. Every single millisecond has been scrutinized over and over again, so they can expect the very best record. I'm anxious waiting for it to come out. I could've released one a year and a half ago, but I didn't have time. I had back surgery; I had knee surgery; I was on tour, so I was busy."
Mystikal: "I'm shooting for September 1 to drop the new single. In the recording process of recording the music, because of all the ups and downs, I was afraid I had lost a little love for it. When I came home [from prison] things were so different, totally different. I'll definitely work with Pharrell again. That is definitely in the works. It's the damn mixtape era and I don't come from that, but I want to give them 12 [tracks] and if they want to call it a mixtape, they can call it a mixtape."
On recent collaborations...
Prof: "Doing the song ["Ghost"] with Tech N9ne was easy. I reached out to some people and asked, 'Do you think Tech will be on this track?' Because it was really his style and they told me, 'No, you'll never get him. He's, like, untouchable. He's too busy.' But he heard the song and because he liked it, he sent me back something right away. He asked me what was up with the video and was very easy to work with. It was very flattering. He's a straight-up student of the game."
Mystikal: "I knew [the call from Ronson] was coming. That was one of the calls I been waiting on. And I got the call and the opportunity [to collaborate with Ronson and Bruno Mars] came and I seized that moment, you know what I'm saying? And great things came from that — The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, The Ellen Show. I wasn't doing that shit before, man."
On being back on stage...
Mystikal: "The word I use for it, man: gratifying. But it wasn't easy. I had to stay mentally tough, you know at the down time. It's easy now to be excited with everything that's going on, but the most important moments were when the calamity did happen. I stayed strong and recognized the error of what I did and moved on from there, man. I'm confident shit can change if you're mindful."
Mystikal: "I had a lot of time on my hands, but it's really not a writing sanctuary. All I wanted to rap about was what was going on at the time, but I was stuck doin' time. People would ask me to rap. They'd beat on their chest to get a beat going, but I didn't really have any instrumentals to rap or write off of really. But being Mystikal, man, in the prison system, it had its perks. But it was more nerve-racking than anything because of what they expected of me."
On experiencing technology after prison...
Mystikal: "Man, six years is a long time. It's crazy, man. Like, getting a fucking beat emailed to me. That shit tripped me out. I lost a lot in those six years as far as fashion and all that shit, so I had a bit of culture shock. I just had to calm down and shut up and listen. The phones tripped me out, too. Like, FaceTime, when I saw that shit I felt like I was in a time machine, like I was in The Jetsons [laughs]. I got out and I was like 'Goddamn!'"
On new rappers and whether or not hip-hop is dead...
Mystikal: "A lot of it I didn't care for, but I had to listen to it just to see where they were. I was hearing a lot of rappers from my era really talking [new rappers] down, but I was like, 'OK, why don't you stop talking about it and fucking do something about it?' First person I'd say is Kendrick. I like that Fetty Wap song 'My Way.' Rick Ross. Rich Homie Quan.
Prof: "I got to agree in some ways with Mystikal, especially with Kendrick because he came out with something so different. Three or four years ago people were saying hip-hop was dead, but that's certainly not the case anymore. No one's saying that anymore."
Mystikal: "And when people say that, that's something that's going on inwards. Complaining about it ain't going to do shit. When I was in prison, I couldn't do nothing about that, but now that I'm here, believe you me, I'm about to make my mark again, man." 0x00E7
Prof Outdoors 2
With: Prof, Mystikal, Murs, Denzel Curry.
When: 4:20 p.m. Sat.
Where: Cabooze Plaza.
Tickets: $25. Click here for tickets and more information.