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August 06, 2001 - Image 12

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-08-06

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 6, 2001
MystC ut it up on


Cuts For Luck and Scars For Free-
dom, Mystic; Goodvibe Recordings
By W. Jacarl Melton
Daily Arts Writer
On the introduction to Cuts For
Luck and Scars For Freedom, Mystic
asks her listeners to open their minds
and just "ride" with her. This is proba-
bly the best way to approach her debut
Mystic commands her audience's
attention through 16 tracks by mixing
her well-honed rhyming and singing
skills with lyrics that are both socially
observant and deeply personal.
The Oakland, California based Mys-
tic has been making a name for herself
in the past few years on the West Coast
for her ability to switch between
emcee and vocalist without compro-
mising her talents in either. We saw

Lauryn Hill do this three years ago,
but Mystic has something Lauryn did-
n't have, or at least didn't show: An
edge. Mystic has no problem calling
things as she sees them. "Ghetto
Birds" is a prime example of this, as
Mystic urges people to stop ignoring
the forces that are actively oppressing
their lives. Also, she suggests these
forces are less discreet than we'd like
to think. The track critiques both sides
of the coin, the oppressor and the
oppressed, in a way only a few artists
have done.
"The Life," which follows the same
premise of "Ghetto Birds," is the
album's lead single and features Mys-
tic's vocal talents almost exclusively. It
serves as a ghetto anthem of sorts by
calling on people to rise above the pain
and negativity put forth by others.
Mystic's voice floats over a head-nod-
ding beat and when it's time to rhyme,
she brings it back down to earth
demonstrating her excellent capacity to
shift gears between two differing vocal
On "Fatherless Child," Mystic shows
she isn't afraid to bare her soul or per-
sonal tribulations. The song is dedicat-
ed to her father, who was mostly absent
from her life. She openly criticizes his
womanizing and violence towards her
mother, but mourns his 1999 death
from a heroin overdose. After recount-
ing being raped while in high school,
Mystic wonders, "would it have, could
it have, should it have been different if
I had your hand to grab?" It's a valid
question, but difficult to hear her ask it.
Mystic's album is so candid it's
almost brutal, which is refreshing. As
one guest rapper put it, "it's really nice
to find sisters bigger than the fashion
designs," and that's true. However,
these deviations from the norm of pop-
ular music could turn some people off.
On the surface, this is a somewhat
dark and pessimistic album. Going
beyond this initial read, Mystic's
album needs to be heard word for
word in order to appreciate it. The
"cuts" she's experienced have pro-
duced a debut that's memorable and
Grade: A-
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Vince Vaughn discusses with Jon Favreau why he did not use his bear-like claws In a light.
cane of 'Sigr'
By David Horn Combs), another criminal, than
Dsity Arts Writer Both Bobby and Ricky are boxers, the I
and work whatever jobs they can for guag
It's money, baby, as long as you Max. While the naive, paranoid, easi
enjoy recycled characters, an unfor- slow-wilted Ricky is content with "Swi
Innately familiar plot and P. Diddy: this lifestyle, Bobby is not. He Fo
The thespian. hopes to use the money from the job whet
"Made" is the follow-up to the in New York to pay off Max so that girl
highly successful Jessica can quit stripping and they with
" S w i n g e r s ," can raise her young daughter. plact
which also Once the friends begin their jour- migh
M d starred Jon ney to New York, the movie begins well
MaeFavreau and - not because the plot starts mov- licent
Grade: B Vince Vaughn, ing, but because Vaughn takes over, is a
and was also Both Vaughn and Favreau play first
At the stte written and essentially the same character that Be
diretead by they did in "Swingers," which aske
Favreau. Favreau realized (correctly) would hei
"tSew i n g eras" be nothing but successful. Vaughn is simp
. won over audi- again the goofy, loud, self-important "
thences with its yin to Favreau's quiet, humble yang. does
clever catch Favreau as a writer has a knack it's
phrases and foun- for putting his oddly-paired charac- bees
dation in previ- ters in situations that are awkward But
ously unwritten contemporary urban and unfamiliar to them. Combs suc- won
mores. "Made" may come off as a ceeds (albeit barely) as Ruiz, espe- muc
coattail-riding, hackneyed second- cially in his unending confusion and mak
effort, yet as it maintains the humor disappointment in these "two voir
and wit of its first incarnation, it is guineas from L.A." forr
worthy of a few laughs. These characters, and essentially a litt
In "Made," Favreau and Vaughn the story, are based on what Mike ers),
play best friends Bobby and Ricky. and Trent (Favreau and Vaughn's ear
Bobby is in trouble with small-time characters from "Swingers") would two
L.A. gangster/pimp Max (Peter be if they left their life of night- ters
Fawk) after getting into a fight with a clubs and video games for one of agai
bachelor for whom his stripper-girl- crime. "s
friend Jessica (Famke Janssen) was The funniest scene in the movie othe
working. Because Max seems to like involves Vaughn asking his first- watec
Bobby he gives him and Ricky (after class stewardess to "round up some But
the former hesitantly vouches for the honeys from coach" to party in New ends
latter) the opportunity to go to New York with them. Yet while funny on figs
York to work with Ruiz (Sean its own, the scene was one of more mov
plabetfinsBbyadRcy anTrn FveuadVuh' eaf

Courtesy of


a few instances where not
humor but also the very
e of these characters coul
ly traced back five year
r example, there is a
e Vaughn leaves Favreau w
while he goes into another r
her friend. Another scene t
-e in the sort of nightclub
it see in Puff Daddy videos
, in "Swingers." Plus,
se plate of the their limo
clever reference to Favre
it at some point the questi
d: When does somethin
g self-referential and
ly unoriginal?
lade" walks that thin line,
it well. It doesn't matter
a reincarnation of "Swin
use the former was so g
Favreau should realize th
t be able to get away with
;h more. Tarantino was ab
e one carbon copy of "
Dogs," but not two. C
aulas can generally be stre
le further (think Farrelly
but not forever. Favreau
for clever dialogue an
funny, complementary c"
- once - and then d
Made" is worth seeing, if f
tr reason than you can
h "Swingers" so many ti
be wary of Favreau's fu.
avors. He is going to
re out how to make a

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