Mystikal: Enter the Tarantula

posted December 19, 2001 12:00:00 AM CST | 0 comments

Mystikal wants you to know Tarantula, his latest release, is so named because, like the spider, he is black and dangerous. However, these aren't the only arachnid-esque traits the prolific emcee embodies. The Kung Fu flick loving rhyme slinger couldn't be more active if he had eight legs.

In a former life, as deejay and break-dancer, he once went by different names, including Mystikal Mike, MC Serious, and Mike T. Today, the 31 year old New Orleans native is a recording artist, philanthropist, businessman, and father. For Mystikal, although responsibilities continue to expand and diversify, one constant remains, keeping his web connected: his love of music.

Before Mystikal's success in the music industry, a four year stint in the Army polished off his youth, or, in his words, "That's when I got my hair put on my chest." That experience served him well enough to get Mystikal to spontaneously offer the hook off the Army's commercial theme, "Be All That You Can Be." The Army undoubtedly served to enrich Mystikal's political consciousness. As a recording artist, he used his music as an outlet to express his perspective on the September 11th tragedies on the uplifting track off Tarantula, "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Againt The Wall)."

In a different direction, "Big Truck Driver" is a purely fun ode to all his trucks that he must really enjoy, since he's planning to name his own soon to be record label Big Truck Records. Having been on three different labels, Mystikal definitely has the knowledge necessary with such a venture. After the changes he's seen, Mystikal affirms, "I learned that I'm never gonna compromise nothin' that's gonna hurt my career." Specifically on the subject of his relationship with Master P, Mystikal says, "Put it like this. We respect each other."

A self-proclaimed perfectionist, Mystikal finds working on soundtracks as gratifying as completing his albums. The soundtrack to the coming film, "The New Guy," starring Eddie Griffin, will include a track Mystikal likes a lot. "I rapped over a James Brown beat. Oh my God." Although Mystikal's favorite classics include rap artists like L.L. Cool J and Scarface, the question had to be asked about James Brown. "That was my mom's idol...She's ready to marry him right now," offers Mystikal, displaying a mischievous sense of humor to rival friend, Chris Rock.

In his private life, as a Christian, Mystikal's faith has helped him handle all aspects of the music business. "It (faith) makes you realize that nothin' is promised, and there is somethin' that come after this. So, do all the best, and live life to the fullest while you're here, you know." As father, of two children, son Million, 1, and daughter My'Chelle, 2, Mystikal's doing his personal best, down to making sure his baby spiders hear the clean edits of his music.

His involvement with a local New Orleans entity called NORD, and the Make A Wish Foundation are ways Mystikal reaches out to do his part for children at large. NORD works in varied capacities, including renovating parks where children can play basketball. As far as Make A Wish, Mystikal says, "They called me once. They said they has some other stuff for me, but I never heard from 'em. So, I'm setting that record straight right now. If y'all need anything else, y'all know where I'm at."

Although not a great fan of jazz, Mystikal, having been raised in New Orleans, was infused with the music rich in culture, which he appreciates. Throughout relaxed conversation, a natural singer, Mystikal punctuates his speech with an occasional line from songs, comfortably and eloquently clarifying his ideas through music. Mystikal's brief moment as a trombone player in school makes his affinity for hip hop that much more surprising.

Regarding his creative process, says Mystikal, "My inspiration comes from the love that I have for the art form of it. I just love to bust a rhyme." When asked what he loves most about performing, Mystikal shares, "that energy you get from the crowd...ain't nothin' like it." With an ever growing fan base, banging tracks, and a new record company about to take off, Mystikal's web is set, and the payoff will be very interesting. Tarantula hits stores December 18.

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