It's "been so long" for New Orleans rapper Mystikal. After a string of hits in the late '90s and early 2000s, the former No Limit soldier was locked up for six years for sexual battery, extortion and failing to file tax returns. But now, more than a year after his release in January 2010, Mystikal is back in the studio, recording with producer Mannie Fresh, formerly of the Cash Money camp, cross-town rival to No Limit.
"We been working. Last couple of weeks, we been coming with some monsters in that studio," Mystikal told MTV News at his Baton Rouge birthday party last week. "I still gotta give them that vintage me, because that's what I am, but I found a way to kinda bring it up to speed and still be contemporary."
The rapper, who was celebrating his 41st birthday and the upcoming birth of his baby boy at Baton Rouge's Sha-La, also paid homage to his heyday with an amped-up performance of some of his old hits. "That was vintage Mystikal," he said afterwards. "It just reminds them of a moment in time when things were alright. Everybody remembers 'Here I Go' or 'Shake it Fast' or 'Make 'Em Say Uhh' — they remember that."
Mystikal is confident that his new material will pick up right where he left off with his turn-of-the-century hits. "I'm in the process of rebranding everything," he said. "My star is still out there in the stratosphere; I just gotta get the spiderwebs off of it and shine it back up. That's it — simple as that."
(Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)