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Mystikal : Tarantula

Dirty stuff from the Dirty South...

This record has one thing on its mind. Well, they don't call it the Dirty South for nothing.

Apart from sing-song rhyming, regional pride and the love of a good party, what unites many

of contemporary hip hop's superstars from the former Confederacy is their obsession with smut.

Like Ludacris, New Orleans' gruff pin-up Mystikal makes a point of being explicitly keen on

ladies, ladies' orifices and making it a lot with ladies. It's this, intermittently entertaining,

urge to spread his seed that takes up much of the muttering time on Mystikal's fifth album.





Perhaps there wasn't that much 'action' around when Michael Tyler served in the 317th

Engineering Divison of the US Army in the Gulf War, and he is making up for lost pussy.

Did he make officer? He's certainly no gentleman, commanding some lovely to "stroke it,

suck it, or leave it alone"
on 'Ooooh Yeah'. 'Pussy Crook', meanwhile, is easily 'Tarantula's

crudest moment - and its funniest too. A lewd skit set to jittery, jiggy production, it sees

Mystikal barking and grumbling his way through a police chase for a man "armed with dick and

striking good looks"
. In it, he exhibits a gallant disregard of menstrual flow, a predilection

for Greek pleasure, and comical desperation: "Dick don't fail me now," he begs, as the cops close in.





But there's a tiny bit more to Mystikal than mere male piggery set to damn fine production

(provided here by the ubiquitous Neptunes, man-of-the-moment Scott Storch, or Mystikal's

own Medicine Men). On 'Alright', Mystikal reflects on the "house I built off/shit/bitch/fuck/damn".

You get the feeling he's very aware of the rewards his filthy mouth brings. His one love song,

'Go 'Head', also rings true despite all his earlier caddishness, revelling in romantic gestures,

OutKast falsettos and whimsical Neptunes tootles. When he's not waving his libido around, Mystikal

is a man of simple tastes. He likes a smoke ('Smoke One') and big trucks ('Big Truck Driver');

he'll have Method Man and Redman over for a sing-song ('I Get Started'). So it's left to his

latest single, 'Bouncin' Back (Bumpin' Me Against The Wall)' to provide the real substance on

this record. It's about America "fighting back" in the aftermath of September 11. And it proves

strangely compelling for a show of strength, thanks to the Neptunes' brassy big band strokes and

Mystikal's own gutturals smeared on top. It's a dirty job, you can hear him thinking,

so let's get stuck in.





Kitty Empire

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