Mystikal :: Let's Get Ready
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
"The braided up pimp is back." What better way to describe Mystikal?
As fast talkers in hip-hop go, Mystikal is the undisputed heavyweight;
having usurped even the most nimble tongued macks in terms of sales.
Years of slamming cameo appearances and full-length albums on No Limit
Records have put the high-octane excitable rapper at an all-time
pinnacle. The timing could not be better for the No Limit Tank to
roll out and drop another Mystikal bomb, especially with their chart
dominance flagging and challenger Cash Money Records usurping their throne.
Guess what? That ain't happening. People in general (including a
lot of Johnny-Come-Lately's) don't realize that Mystikal wasn't
always rolling with the Tank. He started out on an independent
label, and after making a name for himself down South he was almost
simultaneously signed to Jive and No Limit Records. The two
labels managed to jointly release his last three joints, but a
continued differing point-of-view caused them to sever relations
(amicably) and for Mystikal to become an exclusively Jive Records
artist. The timing is unfortunate for No Limit, because just at
the time they were most in need of a big hit, Mystikal came along
with "Shake Ya Ass," an unqualified summer slammer sensation.
Everything about this song is perfectly planned and executed:
an untempo Neptunes beat (think "Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty
Bastard and "Oh No" by Noreaga), a catchy chorus, and Mystikal's
crazed shouts and whistles. "I LIKE MY WOMEN FIRE LIKE CAYENNE!
Chocolate and bowlegged, when I'm RUNNIN UP BEHIND HER," screams
Mr. Excitement. On the radio, on TV, in clubs, no song has
shook this much booty since Juvenile released "Back That Azz Up."
Mystikal follows up the excitement with a full-length 15 track
album (NO SKITS) provacatively titled "Let's Get Ready."
A majority of the album is produced by The Medicine Men (who
you may remember in a former life as Beats By The Pound) and
the Neptunes. Three of the other six are done by Earthtone III,
who gave us last year's "Neck Uv Da Woods,"
which thankfully is included here. The musical backdrop for
Mystikal's gruff voice is close to ideal - snappy enough to
bop your head but distinct enough not to drown out his sometimes
hard to catch flow. This may in fact be the best mastered
album Mystikal has released to date. The only track that's
really hard to follow is "Big Truck Boys,"
which can be forgiven for it's slinky KLC funk instrumental.
Collaborations are kept to a minimum, and other than the
former No Limit producers rocking the beats, associations
with No Limit are non-existant throughout. In fact the
only major cameo is Da Brat on "Come See About Me," which
could be taken or left - it doesn't really enhance the LP.
Mystikal knows how to catch a fire all on his own, and
shines best when left to solo in the spotlight as on
songs like "I Rock, I Roll."
"Video jumpin off, nigga this the REAL New Orleans
My 'Neck Uv Da Woods,' my side of the hood, my part of town
Thugs drugs and violence, y'all niggaz is watered down
When I perform I'm that calm
And I'm the shit on the record, I hit the studio and show 'em!"
Mystikal always does a few tracks that could be considered
"spooky" and this album is no exception.
The sprinkling of piano keys on "Mystikal Fever" will raise
your pulse, while the haunting "Ain't Gonna See Tomorrow"
is even more ominous for the fact it depicts how fucked up
OUR WORLD TODAY is. Mystikal is as fervent about
his faith as DMX - he begs the "heavenly father" to "keep
my head above the water." The shit is DEEP.
Now there are some people who aren't gonna like Mystikal
just on the basis of his delivery - but it's that part of
his flow which makes his basically good lyrics come across
as more distinctive. It gives the extra edge to songs like
"The Braids" and "Smoked Out" which might be more average
on any other rapper's album. Right up until the finale
bonus track (a sampler from new rapper Petey Pablo on track 16)
Mystikal keeps the energy high and the vocabulary flowing.
The only thing that's missing from the this album is the
No Limit Tank logo on the back - but bad luck is a bitch
and Master P came up snake-eyes just as Mystikal hit 7-11.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: October 24, 2000