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After it took two days to locate her, and two more to get a solid interview, the moniker Mysterious suddenly made sense. The directions to her apartment, in fact, read like drill team instructions — right here, left there, right and right again, left, slant, tally-ho.
Then, just as easily as she confuses, Mysterious, the Detroit rapper famous for wrecking the bathroom of P. Diddy’s Justin’s restaurant on the season finale of MTV’s “Making the Band II,” demystifies herself. She is honest, frank and ready to talk.
Kimberly “Mysterious” Bert, 21, was the last Detroiter cast on the aforementioned series, one of a small group of rappers and singers who competed for a spot in the group P. Diddy built for his Bad Boy record empire. Mysterious moved into a New York brownstone with her roommates/ competitors for three months. During this time, she became a front-runner for a roster spot. By midseason, things turned. At the end, she found herself out of a spot, feeling betrayed, and ready for war. While the winners celebrated, she broke a martini glass on a table, wrecked the ladies’ room, then left and walked down the street, ripping out flowers and taunting passers-by.
The woman was pissed.
“I ended up going to Bellevue (psychiatric hospital) that day,” she says. “They (Bad Boy staff) put me in the mental institution that night, because I went on a rage. They didn’t show everything, and I’m glad. MTV and everybody, they were like, ‘We don’t want nobody thinking … you know.’ They said the way they edited it, the season would have been longer if they would’ve showed why I spazzed out like that. Dog, I went crazy. I went ballistic.”
If you follow the season, it appears that Mysterious is not a team player. Footage shows her saying that she doesn’t actually want to be in a group. Other clips depict her saying that, as soon as she does one album with the group, she’s done. But the outtakes may require further review.
“They didn’t show how Puff was trying to take me under his wing, how he always had me around him. He was always talking about me, always asking about me. And he knew a lot about my personal life that no one knew. I felt like I trusted him, and I don’t trust a lot of people.”
The cameras don’t tell you that Mysterious is more than a stage name. A foster child, Mysterious has lived in eight different homes, two girls’ homes and one juvenile facility, and has attended nine high schools. Hers is the unwritten Antwone Fisher story. She was turned onto hip hop by the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC. Soon afterward, other female MCs such as Boss, MC Lyte and Queen Latifah began influencing her rhyme.
By age 13, Mysterious began running away. Often, she’d take trains to New Jersey. She met Teaneck producer D. Moet, who began grooming her. She ended up making the professional acquaintance of established artists including Mary J. Blige and Carl Thomas.
At age 17, she met her biological family, and developed relationships with two sisters and a brother. In 2000, her brother was murdered; he died in Mysterious’ arms. During the “Making the Band II” season, she was again called home. Her sister Markeisha’s body was found. She had been dismembered, and placed in a trash bin.
Mysterious considered staying in Detroit, figuring that going home would halt her progress. “They (Bad Boy) the ones who wanted me to come back. (Imitating the staff) ‘Now come on, you gotta come back. We miss you. You family.’ So that’s probably why, in the end, I was so pissed off. I felt like he (P. Diddy) betrayed me.”
The Dec. 23, 2002 edition of the New York Times reported that Mysterious was kept overnight at Bellevue. The next day, she returned to the brownstone, certain that her fledgling career was shot. But as time progressed, things happened. Rappers Fabolous and Method Man recognized her in New York. She received word that Shady Records was interested in her. She also learned that rapper DMX’ Bloodline Entertainment is interested.
“I thought, maybe my career is not over.” She’s finished with P. Diddy and the Bad Boy family, but still keeps in contact with Babs, a Brooklyn MC who befriended her on the show. The two of them covered Nas’ “Hate Me Now” on DJ Watts’ mix tape. The song has recently received airplay on Wendy Williams’ show on WBLS in New York. Ironically, the song features P. Diddy.
“Puff is full of shit,” she says. But she also feels that, aside from the business of music, he was genuinely concerned about her welfare.
For now, she moves on. And she’s happy that, despite the “Making the Band II” debacle, many people are still clear that there is nothing mysterious about her talent.
Mysterious will perform Thursday, March 6 at Lush (1024 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck) in an all-female hip-hop lineup. For more information, call 313-872-6220.
Khary Kimani Turner spits fire for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.