Unpredictable (Jive/No Limit/Big Boy Records)
By: David Patsko
For everyone that hasn't peeped game on Mystikal yet I can only say come correct and check what this brother has to say. And for the rest of us that know all too well what Mystikal can bring to the table, we still walk around with the hook "Cops murder niggaz at niiiiight......" just resonating in our hip-hop heads. If you remember "Y'all Ain't Ready Yet" then you expect him to come with the same fire and intensity on Unpredictable. Fortunately for all of us he does not disappoint.
Paying his dues in the Army during the Gulf War era seems to have paid off in helping Mystikal come with more lyrical firepower than a Humvee laced with artillery. To set it off he gives us "Born 2 Be A Soldier," pumping you up with his deep-voiced, rapid fire flow. Joined by No Limit Records label-mates Master P (aka "The Colonel",) Silkk The Shocker, Fiend and Mac, Mystikal gets adrenaline rushing through the bloodstream quicker than a barrage of napalm. The next track, "Murder 2" is one of two songs on Unpredictable dedicated to Mystikal's sister who was tragically murdered shortly after her son was born. The other, "Shine," sees a still mournful Mystikal recanting better times with his dearly missed sibling. Telling tales of growing up together and the unavoidable sibling-rivalry, Mystikal seems emotionally charged yet wistful for the "good ol' days," when the biggest worry was saving his sister some Kool-Aid. On "Ain't No Limit," Mystikal pairs up with Silkk once again and Mystikal gives us lines for all ages such as "I'm a one man show, like havin' sex with yourself" and "I did what they thought I wasn't gon' do and said what they thought I wasn't gon' say." Silkk, using more overlays than Craig Mack and all five members of Bone Thugs~N~Harmony, reminds us that he "has more styles than a hairdo" and he displays most of them on his verse. Throw in a tight, funky, bass heavy beat and you have the formula for a tight track.
"Ghetto Child," the track on Unpredictable that everyone should be able to feel, begins with Master P talking about the deprivation and desperation in which he grew up and how he made his way out of the ghetto; giving us a myriad of thoughts like "All my life I thought Bill Clinton ran the country, 'til I found out Bill Gates had all the money" and "And the media, startin East and West Coast wars, I'm from the South where they prejudiced on us all" to reflect on. Shortly thereafter, Mystikal comes in tongue-twisting his way around questions and accusations of why the world is the way it is. Making you stop and think with questions and thoughts such as "How many niggaz in the pen? How many niggaz in the cemetery don't know why? How many strikes y'all niggaz need? How many innocent children in the ghetto gotta lose they life?" Mystikal shows that his lyrics have improved and grown since his debut and that he can not only address the problems that he sees in his everyday life but that he can also do it with many styles and hold the attention of all listeners. And if that doesn't sell you on "Ghetto Child," Silkk the Shocker wraps it all up with gems such as "Now my life ain't been the same nigga, life as a thug, if I had to draw a picture of my life I'd have to paint my picture in blood." Throw in a catchy hook designed and done by Master P and "Ghetto Child" definitely makes you put track 6 on repeat.
Not only does Mystikal work with No Limit Artists, but he is also joined by E-40 and B-Legit on "Here We Go," and is teamed up with Snoop Doggy Dogg and Master P on "Gangstas." Both of these songs feature Mystikal outshining his rapping partners over tight, funky beats and although neither song will be released as a single or even a B-Side, they should be on any compilation tape. Also, Mystikal actually does rap by himself on a few songs. Some of the more noteworthy "Mystikal only" songs are "13 Years," "U Can't Handle This," and "The Man Right'chea;" all songs where you can get a better look into the mind of Mystikal and get acquainted with his many styles.
If there is any need for proof to show that Unpredictable is a success then all there is to know is that it was shipped gold--meaning that before it was even on store shelves, it had already sold more than 500,000 units. But other than being a monetary success, by giving us Unpredictable, Mystikal shows us that he has indeed matured brilliantly in 2 short years. He no longer relies solely on his resonating voice and trademark growls and snarls and fast-paced delivery, he now can carry a track with just the pure talent for writing lyrics that he has been blessed with. Nevertheless, the influence of No Limit Records outshines Mystikal too many times to even associate him with Jive Records (the label he's really signed to). Master P, Silkk The Shocker, Fiend, Mac and Mia-X all rap with Mystikal and many of the beats are made by the collection of No Limit trackmasters collectively known as "Beats By The Pound." In my personal opinion, I see Unpredictable as Mystikal's breaking with Jive Records to become a full-time No Limit artist. And if Unpredictable gives us any indication as to what the working relationship shared by Mystikal and Master P is going to be like, then I think we're all going to benefit by the wonderful music being made by these two No Limit Soldiers from the Crescent City.