Rapper Mystikal to be held without bail in Ascension Parish; charged with rape, robbery

Staff Report
Rapper Mystikal performs during the Legends of Southern Hip Hop Tour in Atlanta on March 19, 2016. Mystikal was jailed in Ascension Parish on Aug. 1, 2022, accused of rape more than a year after prosecutors dropped charges that had kept him jailed for 18 months in another part of the state.

Mystikal, the New Orleans-based rapper who resides in the Prairieville community of Ascension Parish, will remain in the parish jail near Donaldsonville awaiting trial on rape and robbery charges.

Mystikal, whose name is Michael Lawrence Tyler, was arrested July 31 on charges including first-degree rape, simple robbery, and felony domestic abuse battery by strangulation. He was also charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, jail records show.

According to a report published by The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge, 23rd Judicial District Judge Steven Tureau found the evidence and serious nature of the case, along with Tyler's past criminal history and the fears that the accuser might be attacked upon his release, met the "clear and convincing" evidence standard to deny bail.

The rapper's defense attorney, Roy Maughan Jr., reportedly maintained his client's innocence, and had asked for a $250,000 bail.

In a prior news release, Ascension Parish deputies reported speaking to a sexual assault victim at an area hospital July 31.

Rapper Mystikal poses for a portrait in Baton Rouge on Jan. 22, 2021.

The 51-year-old rapper rose to national fame in the 1990s and is known best for his 2000 hit single "Shake Ya Ass" off his album "Let's Get Ready" that sold more than 1 million copies. 

After winning two Grammy awards in 2003, Tyler's career was derailed after pleading guilty to forcing his hairstylist to perform what a judge called "continuous sex acts" that dated from July 2002.

The victim accused Tyler and his two bodyguards of forcing her to perform oral sex after accusing her of stealing $80,000 worth of his checks. The woman denied the theft allegations. Authorities obtained a video of the attack that was locked in a safe in the rapper's then-apartment. 

Tyler served a six-year term in state prison for sexual battery and extortion and was released in 2010, while the two bodyguards served three and four-year sentences. 

In 2012, Tyler was back in jail for three months for a domestic abuse charge against his partner of 10 years, with whom he has two children. The arrest violated Tyler's five-year probation from his previous extortion case. 

In addition to the domestic abuse charges, Tyler would go on to plead guilty to two federal misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns for the $1.7 million he earned in 1998 and 1999. 

In the fall of 2018, Tyler and an accomplice were charged by a Shreveport grand jury for first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping. After 18 months in jail the charges were dropped in December of 2020 after a second grand jury reviewed additional evidence and did not charge Tyler again.

In an interview with the Associated Press that published in April 2021, Tyler stated he was trying to take a different direction with his life and rap career.

In the interview, Tyler said he had learned from his past and that he's got to "stay out the water because it's sharks in that water . . . in other words, don't put yourself in situations where things like this can happen. I'm too old for that." 

Meredith G. White of the Shreveport Times contributed to this report.