Finding The GOAT: Juvenile vs. Mystikal…Who You Got?
As we continue the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time), we are asking you to help us rank who is the greatest MC to pick up a mic. We will take over 35 years of Hip-Hop into consideration, pairing special match-ups in a sequence not unlike March Madness. For the next several months, we will roll out battles, starting with artists from similar eras paired against one another, until one undisputed King or Queen of the microphone reigns supreme.
The next MCs to square-off were two of the biggest forces in bringing on the South’s reign in Hip-Hop in the late 1990s, and they’re still active in its run today: Juvenile and Mystikal (click on one to vote).
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
These two artists spent the mid to late 1990s from rival label movements in the same city. Juvenile’s breakout hit “Ha” diverted attention away from No Limit Records, with whom Mystikal had helped propel into an independent Hip-Hop empire. Strangely enough the Hot Boy and the No Limit Soldier are now label-mates, as Mystikal was met with a YMCMB contract after incarceration halted his boisterous voice and career. Just last month, Juvenile made a return to the team with whom he found his greatest successes. Both artists are masters of dialect, unique cadence, and reporting on their common ground of New Orleans, Louisiana, all while making songs into club/trunk-rattling anthems that knocked the Rap industry off of its shiny suit axis. Read these quite different backgrounds and histories, listen to their music and cast your vote.
From the moment he said “Ha,” Juvenile became a multi-platinum star. One of the mid-1990s purveyors of New Orleans, Louisiana’s Bounce music became the breakthrough vehicle for Cash Money Records in 1998. It is there that Juvenile, a regionally-established sensation found his pocket. A master of dialect, simplicity, and arguably one of the tipping points for Hip-Hop’s southern paradigm shifts, Juvenile proved to be an unmovable act at the top.
Although Juvy’s first six years were not so much about substance as they were exhibitions of style, his post-CMR album, 2006’s Reality Check would prove to be some of Rap’s most poignant commentary regarding a true N’awlins native’s perspective of the devastation. Independent of the label mold (and largely in the absence of Mannie Fresh production), Juvenile’s skills have shined, despite less mainstream exposure. With his U.T.P squad in tow, Terius Gray went underground to come up, influencing artists from Gucci Mane to Lil Boosie to Waka Flocka Flame, with his catchy, street-savvy rhymes. In early 2014, Juve’ came full circle, fully reuniting with the label with whom he released three platinum LPs (including one that made it halfway to diamond status). This Hot Boy’s consistency has made him endure for more than 15 years.
Other Notable Songs:
In the would-be wave of New Orleans artists to smash the mainstream in the late 1990s, Mystikal was among the first. Prior to his No Limit Records enlistment, Michael Tyler took his extremely independent self-titled 1995 LP, and four months later, linked with Jive Records (KRS-One, A Tribe Called Quest, Spice 1) to release the gold-certified Mind Of Mystikal. With a loud, boisterous style, the rapper was in the school of Busta Rhymes and Sticky Fingaz—yelling, aggressive, animated. However, in his raps, Mystikal forever reminded audiences that he was a boy from the bayou, adding to the uniqueness of the approach. And if you listened closely, the MC had a lot to say under the amplification.
Joining No Limit Records in the 1990s, Mystikal added flare to the movement of the Miller Family (Master P, Silkk The Shocker, C-Murder, TRU). Before the mass-signings, it was ‘Kal whose feature work, and two platinum albums added diversity and acclaim to P’s brigade. Afterwards, it was also Mystikal who did it again, reaching double-platinum in 2000’s Let’s Get Ready. Mystikal is one of the few southern artists present at the burgeoning movement who has maintained his success. Legal woes and a lengthy incarceration halted the rapper’s career extensively. However, crossing town to the YMCMB family, Mystikal is currently the secret weapon in Lil Wayne’s armory. With a host of hits, Mystikal is often the southern MC forgotten about in GOAT lists, deserving to get a long look.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who ya got?