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Born: September 22, 1970
Originally one of the leading rappers on Master P's No Limit record label, Mystikal quickly evolved beyond the label's clichéd thug trappings and found himself one of the Dirty South's most recognized rappers, alongside Juvenile. Like No Limit itself, Mystikal is a New Orleans native. He released an eponymous debut on the independent label Big Boy in 1995. It earned the attention of Jive Records, who signed him later that year. His official, major-label debut, Mind of Mystikal, was released early in 1996 and became a major hit in the rap underground, falling just short of going gold. He then hooked up with Master P and No Limit; the union produced Unpredictable, which was released in the fall of 1997 and helped the rapper build a substantial following. Ghetto Fabulous followed in early 1999, falling just short of debuting at number one on the album charts. Consolidating his status as a hot property, Mystikal wasted no time in issuing a follow-up; Let's Get Ready appeared in the fall of 2000, eclipsing his preceding releases in sales terms, as expected. Driven by the James Brown-like "Shake Ya Ass" as a lead single -- an MTV staple before the album even hit the streets -- it had become increasingly difficult to trace Mystikal's roots back to the trademark sound and motifs of the thuggish No Limit camp. Let's Get Ready demonstrated the wide-reaching ambitions that had only been hinted at in successive releases, eliminating the No Limit stigma and finally making his unique rhyme delivery accessible enough to cross over to the masses. In 2001, Mystikal's bombastic rap stylings came together for a fifth album, Tarantula. "Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against the Wall)" was one of 2002's hottest singles; the next year Mystikal garnered two Grammy nods for Best Male Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Album. The hit-grabbing compilation Prince of the South dropped in 2004 with the new single "Oochie Pop."