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by
1 January, 2001@12:00 am
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 Even with Lauryn Hill taking an extended sabbatical, no one has stepped up in her absence to carry the hip-hop/songbird flame. That was until now. With her debut, Cuts For Luck and Scars For Freedom, Mystic seamlessly bridges the gap between soulful harmonizing, and introspective lyricism; and no one since Lauryn has bridged this gap so effectively. While Foxy, Lil Kim, and Gangsta Boo exploit their physical attributes, and sexually provocative lyricism to gain attention. Mystic takes the road less traveled, and she is undoubtedly the closet thing to a role model female hip-hoppers have at their disposal.

Cuts For Luck is a soulful blend of spoken word poetry, and introspective lyricism. Though Mystic effortlessly manages to implement her vocal, and lyrical chops on the sublime “Neptune’s Jewels”, and the A-Plus produced, breakout single “The Life”. Unlike other songbirds, Mystic rarely gets boxed in, or fixated on one style, as she ably floats between repping the West Coast’s virtues with fellow Cali up-and-comer Planet Asia on “W”, and questioning hip-hop’s image conscious nature with “The Gotta’s”.

Mystic’s voice contains a natural duality; as it can be gentle (“Forever and A Day”), and pessimistic (“You Say I Say”) at any given moment. Similarly, her vocals unfold with an emotional warmth that only a woman can provide, as it conveys a deep, Motherly like understanding; offering that tender shoulder to cry on (“Fallen Angels”), but at the same time demanding respect for herself, and her fellow sista’s (“Girlfirend Sistagirl”). While the extremely vivid “Fatherless Child” is a sympathetic, and scolding account of her Father’s losing battle with drug addiction.

Though Cuts For Luck implements a hodge-podge of producers, including A-Plus, Chops, Shock G, Spontaneous, and drum and bass maestro Adam, each contributor manages to apply their own individual sound in a cohesive manner.

While Foxy Brown, and Lil Kim push the envelope with their uninhibited brand of punany power, Mystic’s socially relevant, and personally revealing topic matter is just as uninhibited. Yet, while Mystic features the same voluptuous package (check the artwork for verification) as the aforementioned, instead of augmenting her breast size, Mystic’s artsy Cuts For Luck And Scars For Freedom augments the mind—-ladies first indeed!!

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