MYSTIC at the Comfort Zone (480 Spadina), Friday (May 25). $5. 416-975-0909.
There's an uncommon honesty in the rhymes on L.A. MC Mystic's forthcoming Cuts For Luck And Scars For Freedom debut -- uncommon at least by hiphop standards.
The rootsy, 27-year-old MC, born Mandolyn Ludlum, might be as tight with L.A.'s thug community as she is with conscious cats like Bahamadia and Souls of Mischief, but there is none of the fantastical story-creating or idle tough talk here.
Instead, whether rhyming about her absent father or lost friends, Mystic speaks in plain tones, sometimes almost uncomfortably so.
"I am a very frank and personal person," she laughs from the hair salon prior to her Toronto debut Friday at the Comfort Zone. She also makes an in-store appearance at Vice Friday at 5 pm. "I touch on that with the album title. Everybody goes through these experiences where we break down and bleed, but friends help us out. Other experiences scar us, and those make us who we are.
"It's important to talk about this. I've been through some things and have had to make those choices about whether I want to live legally or illegally, but that's fine. There's a part of me that feels extremely vulnerable, but I don't think I could have made the record any other way."
Mystic's uncluttered lyrical style works well with the musical tone of Cuts For Life. Beats by the Angel, A-Plus and Spontaneous bump on the organic side of hiphop, while Mystic mixes rhymes with spoken word in a free-flowing, almost freestyling vibe.
"I wanted this record to be honest and soothing and musical," Mystic insists. "I got some dope, bangin' beats to rhyme over, but they just didn't fit in with what my vision of the album was.
"I like that feeling. I could easily rhyme over big jeep beats, but I'll do that next time."MATT GALLOWAY