Mystikal, CakeWalk to perform collaborative night of funk

Olivia Poletti, Contributing Reporter

New Orleans native Mystikal and Tulane’s own nine-piece funk group, CakeWalk, will grace the stage together for an unforgettable night of music starting 9 p.m. March 20 at the Southport Music Hall. Mystikal was one of the first New Orleans rappers to gain national fame. Released in 2000, his album “Let’s Get Ready debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

With hits including “Shake It Fast” and “Bouncin’ Back (Bumpin’ Me Against the Wall),” Mystikal’s signature gruff voice and bombastic lyricism gained instant notoriety. Working alongside artists such as Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes, Mystikal has remained an influential force in the hip-hop industry.

More recently, Mystikal was featured on English producer Mark Ronson’s newest album “Uptown Special,” with the single “Feel Right.” The eclectic tune differs from Mystikal’s traditional music due to its funkier vibe. However, the rapper maintains his trademark husky sound.

Graves Lee, saxophonist for CakeWalk and Tulane Senior, respects Mystikal’s choice to move out of his comfort zone.

“He’s bringing a powerful vocal energy to the music that’s right in line with artists like James Brown,” Lee said. “That type of energy that Mystikal brings is absolutely something that we try to emulate when we play funk music.”

Lee cites New Orleans’ culture as a huge influence on CakeWalk’s sound. The city has provided the collegiately-built band plenty of opportunities to play with locals, both big and small.

“We’re lucky to live in a place like New Orleans where big-name artists like Mystikal are willing to partner with smaller, up-and-coming acts like us,” Lee said. “We’re really looking forward to making a positive impression on people who are coming to the show to see Mystikal, and wouldn’t know about us otherwise.”

As for CakeWalk, the group has obtained great success in the college music scene, and has even shared the stage with well-known groups such as the Rebirth Brass Band and Smash Mouth.

“We’re going to do everything we can to keep CakeWalk going,” Lee said. “Our fans can be sure they’ll see our members engaging in the New Orleans artistic community for a long time to come.”