February 22, 2016

Mystic "Fatherless Child" (Spin Magazine, October 2001)

"Mystic's mother found out her daughter had been raped in adolescence the way most fans will - by listening to her album, Cuts For Luck and Scars For Freedom. "It was never discussed," says the 27-year-old Oakland-bred rapper-singer. "I didn't want my mom to think that she'd done anything wrong." Perhaps not coincidentally, Mandolyn Wind Ludlum chose the nom-de-rhyme Mystic because it means "holder of secrets." Her stark, minor-key tracks tell noir tales of ghetto strife, as she alternates between tough-love flows and breathy, resolute vocals. She may be secretive, but Mystic has no problem sharing with the public what she couldn't tell her Mom. The confessional "Fatherless Child" ponders the effects of her dad's departure from the family. "My mother left my dad," she says. "He was a drug addict, an alcoholic, and a philanderer." Soak in the lyrics of "Fatherless Child"...

"Both on a hippie commune near Loma Lake, California, Mystic moved with her mother to Hawaii and Guadalajara, Mexico, and lived all over California through her teens. She started "wilding out" on drugs with surfers and burnouts in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Oakland. Then, at 16, a radical English teacher politicized her, and she found her calling in the spoken-word scene. She met reggae artist Jamal-Ski, who told Mystic her poetry was dope. "I felt I'd been given a gift," she says. "I kept thinking, 'If I die, it would be unfair not to do what I'm supposed to with my life'." In 1998, Mystic went on tour with Digital Underground, whose Shock-G (a.k.a. Humpty Hump) produced some of her debut. Sadly, the same day she a recording contract, her father died of a heroine overdose. "We had found peace," Mystic says of their relationship. And though he never heard "Fatherless Child," she says, 'When I sing that song, I know he hears it'." - Spin Magazine, October 2001.