New York (AP) – After spending more than four years under the “bad dream” of rape and kidnapping charges that were recently dismissed, rapper Mystikal says he wants to shed the sexually-charged songs of his past and now has a higher audience in mind.
“When I look back and listen to the music, man – I was a nasty lil’ rapper!” he said with a hint of embarrassment in an interview with The Associated Press. “A lot of my music now, I imagine myself rapping it to God, and if I can rap it, I’m proud.” The Louisiana hip-hop legend said he “can’t go to God” with lines like the dirty opening verse of his hit “Shake Ya A(asterisk)(asterisk).”
But don’t expect Mystikal to start appearing on the gospel charts. He wants to make changes to his career – and life – as he tries to find harmony beyond a troubled past. During the last three years, the once chart-topping rapper faced uncertainty after being indicted on first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping charge stemming from a 2016 allegation.
The long ordeal “was like a reoccurring bad dream,” he said. “I didn’t know how it was going to work out.” Louisiana’s Caddo Parish District Attorney recently closed the investigation. Following the introduction of new evidence, a second grand jury declined to indict him again, prompting the district attorney to file to dismiss the charges in December.
Days later, a blitz of film trailers for Eddie Murphy’s highly anticipated “Coming 2 America” began airing, featuring “Feel Right,” Mystikal’s 2015 smash with Mark Ronson. The New Orleans product said he had no idea the song would be used, but he doesn’t believe in coincidences.
“It felt like God was winking his eye at me,” he said with a smile. “That’s what strengthens my spirituality right now, things like that.” Maintaining his innocence throughout, the rapper had been free on a $3 million bond since February 2019 after being jailed in August 2017. Still, work was quiet due to the uncertainty of the case and the seriousness of the charges. But bookings for live performances are picking back up, and his life story will be featured on the upcoming season of TV One’s popular music docuseries “Unsung.”
I didn’t get a Donald Trump pardon,” he said, proclaiming his innocence.
But prosecutors say the term “innocent” may still be up for debate.
Mystikal’s most recent trouble began in October 2016 after his performance at a “Legends of Southern Hip-Hop” concert stop in Shreveport, Louisiana, a bill that also advertised other Southern rap icons like Juvenile, Bun B, and Trick Daddy. According to police records obtained by the AP, Mystikal and a few members of his entourage, including hopeful rapper Averweone “Lil Hood” Holman, met up with Holman’s female friend and her boyfriend.
After hanging out at Sam’s Town Hotel and Casino with the group, the victim, who told police they continuously gave her drinks, became separated from her boyfriend for a few hours, the records said. When they reconnected, the boyfriend said she seemed disoriented. Police were called.
According to the reports, Holman stated he and the victim were both intoxicated and admitted to having intercourse. He told investigators they were the only ones in the room.
Police noted that while the victim said she didn’t remember certain parts of the night, she did recall waking up on a bed with her panties down and Holman’s penis out. She also had another memory of her buttocks hurting with Mystikal standing behind her, according to the police report.
Mystikal told police he wasn’t in the room during the incident, and he “did not hear anything.” But after forensic tests came back eight months later, DNA showed Mystikal had an intimate physical encounter with the victim. A toxicology report found cocaine and another substance in the victim’s system; she told investigators she did not consume illegal drugs.
An arrest warrant was issued for Mystikal, Holman, and a woman who later pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice. Holman pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of simple kidnapping in June 2019 and was sentenced to time served, court records show.
Mystikal hesitantly admitted to the AP that a sexual encounter did happen. He described it as consensual, believing the victim stated she was raped rather than accepting her boyfriend’s indiscretion.
“There was additional information that surfaced that the original grand jury did not have an opportunity to consider at the time that the charges were brought forward,” said Britney Green. She oversaw the case for the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office. “We then decided that the case needed to stop there because the (second) grand jury did not return an indictment after the review of the additional evidence.”