Rapper Mystikal breaks silence on dropped rape charge


Rapper Mystikal poses for a portrait in Baton Rouge, La. on Jan. 22, 2021. Mystikal, whose birth name is Michael Lawrence Tyler, plans to start work on a live instrumentation project. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

New York (AP) — After spending more than four years under the “bad dream” of rape and kidnapping charges that were recently dismissed, rapper Mystikal says he wants to shed the sexually-charged songs of his past, and now has a higher audience in mind.

“When I look back and listen to the music, man — I was a nasty lil’ rapper!” he said with a hint of embarrassment in an interview with The Associated Press. “A lot of my music now, I imagine myself rapping it to God and if I can rap it, I’m proud.”

The Louisiana hip-hop legend said he “can’t go to God” with lines like the dirty opening verse of his hit “Shake Ya A(asterisk)(asterisk).”

But don’t expect Mystikal to start appearing on the gospel charts. He wants to make changes to his career — and life — as he tries to find harmony beyond a troubled past. During the last three years, the once chart-topping rapper faced uncertainty after being indicted on a first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping charge stemming from a 2016 allegation.

The long ordeal “was like a reoccurring bad dream,” he said. “I didn’t know how it was going to work out.”

Louisiana’s Caddo Parish District Attorney recently closed the investigation. Following the introduction of new evidence, a s econd grand jury declined to indict him again, prompting the district attorney to file to dismiss the charges in December.

Days later, a blitz of film trailers for Eddie Murphy’s highly anticipated “Coming 2 America” began airing, featuring “Feel Right,” Mystikal’s 2015 smash with Mark Ronson. The New Orleans product said he had no idea the song would be used, but he doesn’t believe in coincidences.

“It felt like God was winking his eye at me,” he said with a smile. “That’s what strengthens my spirituality right now, things like that.”

Maintaining his innocence throughout, the rapper had been free on a $3 million bond since February 2019 after being jailed in August 2017, but work was quiet due to the uncertainty of the case and seriousness of the charges. But bookings for live performances are picking back up, and his life story will be featured on the upcoming season of TV One’s popular music docuseries “Unsung.”

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