Watch yourself: Mystikal is back! The 44-year-old Louisiana rapper who scorched hip-hop charts with “Danger” and “Shake Ya Ass” in the early 2000s is buzzing once again, thanks to a feature on last year’s ultra-funky Mark Ronson single “Feel Right,” and a little help from Bruno Mars. Poised for his big comeback, Mystikal tells us about his new album—his first in 14 years—a potential label deal with Mars and why you’ll need a helmet for his August 15 performance at Foxtail Pool at SLS.
There’s been talk about your comeback since your release from prison in 2010. What’s taken so long?
Ooh lord, I had to come and feel my way around. … Times had changed. It was a social shock, man, a technological shock. I had to go back to jail one more time before I got it all the way right. But I made it. It was just a struggle, like I was in a time warp or something, because I was not paying attention to anything that was taking place out here when I was doing my time. I was concentrating on that [and] maintaining my sanity.
Everyone’s been talking about you again since the Mark Ronson single [“Feel Right” with Bruno Mars].
That’s a whole other Mystikal, right there. I have to put a different outfit on. That’s what I needed. Bruno Mars is big, man. And I hadn’t been with an A-list crowd since “Shake Ya Ass” in 2000. It just felt so good to walk in there, home, like I never left. When it was my moment, I really showed up. When I went to bat, I hit it down, home run—pow!—bases was loaded. I could have easily came home with nothing but, naw, we got one in. We had the right beat, I had the right rhymes and had the right motherfucking people in the room. Bruno Mars and KLC and Mark [Ronson], c’mon man? And me? C’mon, bruh. We completed the song, then the real big moment was performing it on Saturday Night Live. Man, we knocked that thing out of the park. We killed that shit, for real.
So how do you follow up such a big hit?
I’m looking at a September 15 release for Strength in Numbers. That’ll be my street record, because the things I’m doing with Bruno Mars—my true fans, they don’t know Bruno Mars. It’s a different market. This is a record to connect with the people that was really, really waiting on me through all my calamity.
Will you be working more with Ronson?
Now that’s a horse of a different color. That deal is still being processed. … I’m doing [Strength in Numbers] in attempts to strengthen everything that me and Mark and Bruno ’bout to be spitting out. We’re really close to completing the deal and being the first artist on Bruno’s label.
Whoa, wait, you’re gonna be on Bruno’s label?
We’re at the table. Start the rumor!
What’s his label called?
I can’t disclose all that. I’m disclosing too much already.
Whatever happened with the Cash Money deal?
It just ran its course. I don’t know if they know, but they saved my life. When I came home, I didn’t know what was going on. In 2010, they were at the top top of the top. For them to come and swoop me up from my situation, man, that was an absolute blessing. I was kind of hesitant about going because I come from No Limit. But Baby (Birdman) had to tell me, “We grown now, you better grow up and get this money. Let’s go!” Even Master P called me and gave me his blessing because I definitely hollered at him first … In 2012 when I did sign with Cash Money, P called me and said, “Salute bruh, do your thing. Get it.” Everything was amicable.
So what should we expect from your live show at SLS?
The fans that have seen me before, they know what to expect. Now everybody else: Get your helmets and your knee pads, because I throw down, man.
Mystikal with special guests Fiend and KLC
7 p.m. Aug. 15, Foxtail Pool at SLS, $20, FoxtailLasVegas.com.
RSVP for a complimentary ticket at SPYONvegas.com.