AceShowbiz - Rapper Mystikal relied on his Christian faith to pull him through his longrunning rape case, comparing the ordeal to a "reoccurring bad dream."
The "Danger" star, real name Michael Tyler, surrendered to authorities in August, 2017 on charges of first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping after a Louisiana woman accused him of sexual assault relating to an incident in 2016.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges and spent 18 months behind bars, before being able to post his $3 million (£2.1 million) bond in February, 2019, and in December (20), members of a second grand jury decided there wasn't enough evidence to move forward with the charges, which were subsequently dismissed.
Mystikal has now opened up about the legal nightmare in a rare interview with The Associated Press, admitting he feared the worst, having previously spent six years in prison for a 2003 sexual battery conviction, which landed him "in a horrible fraternity" on the sex offenders' registry.
"(It) was like a reoccurring bad dream," he said of the recent drama. "I didn't know how it was going to work out."
The rapper had initially told police he never had sex with the alleged victim but, in the new interview, he admits they were intimate - although he maintains it was all consensual and is convinced the woman cried rape to avoid admitting she had cheated on her boyfriend.
Now 50, Mystikal is focused on getting his career back on track, and this time around, his songs won't be all about sex, as they were at the height of his fame.
"When I look back and listen to the music, man - I was a nasty lil' rapper!" he confessed. "A lot of my music now, I imagine myself rapping it to God and if I can rap it, I'm proud."
It was his religion which helped Mystikal push through his most recent prison spell and, after the criminal case was dismissed, he started hearing his 2015 Mark Ronson hit, "Feel Right", featured in trailers for Eddie Murphy's "Coming 2 America" movie.
"It felt like God was winking his eye at me," he smiled, claiming he had no idea the song would be used in the film. "That's what strengthens my spirituality right now, things like that."
And although some people may not be rushing back to support him, the hip-hop star remains hopeful he will be able to prove he's a changed man through his work.
Speaking of his critics, he said, "I can't do nothing about that, but I try to understand where they're coming from."
"At this point in age, I'm just grateful to still be able to participate (in music). At my concerts, man, I still (have a) packed house after all this time. It's amazing."
Mystikal has also "learned" to avoid putting himself in questionable situations which could potentially lead to more legal woes. "I don't perform at the show and get the ladies (excited) and get her all goo-goo eyed and take advantage (of being a celebrity)...," he insisted. "That was a young Mystikal."