Michael Lawrence Tyler- better known as Mystikal, broke into the music scene with the release of his debut album, Mystikal (1994). Prior to trying his hand out at rapping, he was caught up in break-dancing as a teen. Drawing inspiration from artists such as LL Cool J, Mystikal continued to rap throughout the next years- even while he was serving in the Army, which he joined shortly after his high school graduation. After being discharged from the Armed Forces, he was invited to perform at an outdoor concert held by Doug E. Fresh and Run-D.M.C. As it happened, his performance was witnessed by Leroy Edwards, the main producer for the Big Boy Record label. Taken away by Mystikal’s rapping talent, he immediately got in touch and offered him a recording deal with the company.
Eventually signing on with Jive Records, Mystikal released his major label debut, Mind of Mystikal in October of 1995. A solid release, it charted on two separate record charts and has since been certified gold by the RIAA. Two years after his initial work, he came out with his second studio album, Unpredictable (1997), which ended up being much more successful than his first. A chart topper on the US Top R&B Albums Chart, it became Mystikal’s first platinum album. Since then, he has released three additional titles- Ghetto Fabulous (1998), Let’s Get Ready (2000), and Tarantula (2001)
On June 26, 2003, Mystikal pleaded guilty to sexual battery and extortion. On January 15, 2004, Mystikal was sentenced to six years in state prison after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform sex acts. The rapper and two bodyguards forced the woman to perform sex acts, and accused her of stealing $80,000 in checks. As part of a plea bargain, all three pleaded guilty.
Mystikal initially claimed that the incident was consensual, but a videotape of the incident was later found at his home shortly after the charges were made. Negotiations during the trial held the videotape from being entered as evidence and Mystikal agreed to the plea bargain offered by the prosecution, avoiding the mandatory life sentence for sexual battery in Louisiana and expecting to receive probation. However, the case took a twist when the judge viewed the videotape at the sentencing, took into account Mystikal’s two prior arrests (for drug and gun possession), and had him remanded into custody to begin serving a six-year sentence immediately. Mystikal’s bodyguards, Leland Ellis and Vercy Carter, also pleaded guilty to sexual battery.
While incarcerated, Mystikal was charged with federal tax offences, and received an additional one year on his sentence.
On January 19, 2006, Mystikal was denied parole at a parole board hearing. He was released January 14, 2010. After his release, Mystikal was registered as a sex offender.
After his release Mystikal stated:
|“||I was gone so long, all the things I achieved, all the accolades I attained, it felt like it was a dream. It felt like I’d never done that stuff. But watch how I shake this world up now — I want reparations.||”|
On February 22, 2012, Mystikal was arrested again following a dispute with his domestic partner and was later given a misdemeanour charge of domestic abuse battery. On April 16, he was given a three-month jail sentence for violating the terms of his probation he was given following his release from prison in January 2010. He was given credit for the nine days already served, reducing his confinement to 81 days. He began serving his sentence on May 14 at the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail. During his incarceration, he appeared in court to be heard on the domestic battery charges as well as for a hearing to determine child support payments for his two youngest children. Mystikal was released from jail in August 2012.