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Mystikal Offers Powerful Proof of His Independence

*** 1/2 MYSTIKAL, "Let's Get Ready . . .," Jive

September 24, 2000|SOREN BAKER

Once a member of Master P's mighty No Limit Records roster, this New Orleans rapper demonstrates on his explosive fifth album that unlike many of the other artists who have left the label, such as Kane & Abel and Fiend, he can make exceptional--and in all likelihood commercially successful--music without Master P's backing.

Like Busta Rhymes, this verbal hurricane screams many of his vocals, but unlike Rhymes, who focuses on braggadocio, Mystikal adds some social commentary and personal reflection to his music, creating a personality that's as hard to ignore as a stampede.

The sensational "Shake Ya Ass," the lead single from his new collection (due in stores Tuesday), is an irresistible dance track that could be the hip-hop single of the year. Elsewhere, Mystikal explores senseless violence, a severe car accident he was involved in and his faith in God (on "Ain't Gonna See Tomorrow").

Mystikal also delivers a number of catchy braggadocio tunes that include a deft mix of humor, intensity and sonic punch, from the bombastic "That's That [Expletive]" to the rowdy "The Braids."

There's certainly enough profanity and frank discussion of sexual behavior to warrant a parental advisory sticker on the album, but Mystical's growing social awareness in key tracks suggests a welcome artistic maturity.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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