Thousands turned out Friday to see New Orleans rapper Mystikal perform one last time before returning to jail on a probation violation.
The rapper, whose real name is Michael Tyler, was released from a Louisiana prison in 2010 after serving six years for sexual battery and extortion. He returns to jail May 14 following a February arrest on a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse battery.
In April, the rapper’s attorney, Roy Maughan Jr., said Tyler and the victim in the domestic battery case were longtime domestic partners.
The rapper alluded to his legal problems on stage Friday
“I’m going through some things, but it’s gonna be all right,” Mystikal said to cheering fans. “Fellas if you get into it with your girl, just walk away. Me? I’m gonna run.”
He also shouted: “Eighty-one days and I will be back,” referring to the length of his pending jail term.
State District Judge Tony Marabella of Baton Rouge ordered Tyler to serve 90 days in jail for the violation but gave him credit for the nine days he was detained after his Feb. 22 arrest.
Mystikal thanked his fans for their continued support and, in between a few water breaks, pushed through a set list that included fan favorites “Bouncin’ Back, “Danger (Been So Long),” and “Here I Go.”
“He’s been through a lot, but I like artists who keep pushing past their struggles,” said Erik Hamilton, of New Orleans. “A lot of people focus on an artist’s problems and forget that he’s a regular person and regular people sometimes have problems.
“I’m disappointed to hear he has to go back (to jail) but he’ll have some time to sit back and realize what he’s done and hopefully he will be a better man when he comes out.”
Hamilton’s wife, Frenchell Pannell-Hamilton, said she enjoyed the rapper’s performance.
“We have to support our local musicians and stand behind them,” she said. “That helps keep New Orleans strong.”
Tony Jones, visiting from Hawaii, said he didn’t know what happened to get Mystikal a return ticket to prison, but hoped “the judge was lenient.”
Jason Foster, a Charlotte, N.C. native now living in New Orleans, said he grew up with Mystikal. This was his first time at the Jazz Fest and his first time seeing the rapper’s live show, which included music by his full brass band “Hot Sausage.”
“He played all his hits and gave a great show,” Foster said.
Tyler pleaded guilty in 2003 to forcing his hairstylist to perform what a judge called “continuous sex acts.” The victim in that case accused Tyler and two bodyguards of making her perform oral sex after accusing her of stealing $80,000 worth of his checks.
The woman denied stealing any money.