June 19, 2016

Mystic "Cuts For Luck and Scars For Freedom" (CMJ, 8/01)

"From the onset, Mystic's debut longplayer, Cuts For Luck, sounds so inspired, there's no questioning the vocalist's talent or skills. Her record is so groundbreaking, in fact, that it raises the question about its peers: What's hip-hop about nowadays? Stacked up against ...Scars For Freedom, much of this supposed new music sounds like pure formula. Raging against the norm, Mystic's emotion-soaked, thought-provoking set blends neo-soul R&B tenderness with ruffneck street poetics and quiet funk beats. Drawing on Lauryn Hill's multi-cultural muses, Nina Simone's passion and Tupac's socio-political energy, Mystic paints a portrait of inner-city blues and angst articulated with as much sweet melancholy as poignant wordplay. On softly anthemic cuts like "The Life," "Neptune's Jewels," "Fallen Angels" and "Girlfriend Sistagril," Mystic swirls buttery vocals around direct, hard-hitting rhymes that slap your brain with the intensity of labelmate Bahamadia or a more thoughtful Eve." Peep the (blurry) visuals to the 12" single, "The Life," continued below...

"As she finds deep emotion in topics both obvious (B-girl sexuality, hard 'hood tales) and not (park barbecues), a hot list of underground producers including the Angel, Spontaneous, A-Plus and the Mountain Brothers' Chops keep the mood constant with a tight offering of sensual organic grooves and downtempo bumps. Cliche as it may be, Mystic's is the sound the next generation of hip-hop." - CMJ (August, 2001). I (still) love this album so much, much love and blessings to my sister, Mystic!