Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Mind of Mystikal [Jive, 1995] *
  • Unpredictable [Jive/No Limit, 1997] A-
  • Ghetto Fabulous [Jive/No Limit, 1998] Choice Cuts
  • Let's Get Ready [Jive, 2000] ***
  • Tarantula [Jive, 2001] ***
  • Prince of the South . . . The Hits [Jive/Zomba, 2004]  

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Mind of Mystikal [Jive, 1995]
Howlin' Wolf as gangsta psychopath/boogeyman ("Y'All Ain't Ready Yet," "Here I Go") *

Unpredictable [Jive/No Limit, 1997]
The only No Limit rapper with a style worth talking about fires the words rough and fast, like a dancehall toaster without Jamaica, or Busta Rhymes without a sense of humor. Its boasts, doubts, and recriminations clearly audible through the gravelly buckshot of the rap, its only humanizing inflections Bernie Worrell-style hooks that hover eerily above the subwoofer boom, the CD remains unbearably intense well past the usual N.O. breaking point, leaving Mystikal one of the rare gangstas whose regrets seem powered by anything deeper than self-pity--a brush with the demonic, say. And it adds a killer emotional twist by going out on what sounds like a home-recorded vocal chorus by the dead sister whose murder he'd promised to revenge an hour before. A-

Ghetto Fabulous [Jive/No Limit, 1998]
"I'm on Fire" Choice Cuts

Let's Get Ready [Jive, 2000]
Gangsta shit finally beneath him, he bids to become pop's scariest party animal ("Shake Ya Ass," "Big Truck Boys," "Family"). ***

Tarantula [Jive, 2001]
his beats are supernatural, but he rips pussy linings, which whatever his physical deformities just isn't very nice ("Bouncin' Back [Bumpin' Me Against the Wall]," "Big Truck Driver") ***

Prince of the South . . . The Hits [Jive/Zomba, 2004]
Convicted sexual batterer and sole actually talented No Limit rapper Mystikal remains at his fiercest on 1997's Unpredictable, issued by No Limit/Jive. Hence the corporate provenance of his best-of, easily the most desirable CD to feature the timelessly timely Pharrell Williams collab "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall)," which captured how it might feel to shake your a** at the terrorist threat. [Recyclables]  

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