Mystikal just announced  his signing to Cash Money this week, but the veteran MC has been in talks with the label's head, Birdman, about joining the roster since before he went to prison back in 2004.

Birdman tells that the two even worked on songs for Mystikal's 2001’s Tarantula album that were never released. Fastforward, after a few meetings earlier this year, the two finally agreed on a Cash Money Records recording contract.

“Just to be able to work with Mystikal, I’ll tell him I appreciate the opportunity,” Birdman says of the union. “All he’s been through and him being from the town and what we been through together, it means a lot to me, what we’re doing, building the brand and the team. I’m super excited, the team is super excited. 2012 we’re gonna let it go, we have a lot of great music on him. I want him to be bigger than he’s ever been. I have a lot of great music on him, we know it’s a lot of work. He knows it’s a lot f work. We’re gonna go hard.”

Despite both Birdman and Mystikal being from New Orleans and sharing a mutual admirations of each other’s music, the two are still getting to know each other. Back in the day, Cash Money and Mystikal’s label at the time, No Limit, had serious competition and there wasn’t too much mixing between the two camps allowed. But these days, all the beef is in the past.

“To work with Mystikal, we know each other, but don’t know each other,” Birdman details. “We followed each other for years, but we were on separate sides of the fence. When we came together, it always was a mutual respect. He respects us and we respect him. We’re grown. We’re trying to feed our families, upgrade ourselves in life. Unfortunately, back in those days, we were just young and wild. All of us had this attitude and chip which really it didn’t make no sense. It would have been better for us to do things together and get money. But everything comes with time.

"It’s perfect timing for him and for us to be able to work with him," continues Baby. "We’re just excited. I didn’t even look at the past. I didn’t think about what we went through. That shit’s so far behind us. We’re trying to provide for the team and the family. I think he’s a special talent like a Busta Rhymes or a Drake or a Wayne. He can’t be duplicated. His style is original. We gonna put out some visuals on him, his album is coming in May and we gonna roll.”

Last night, Funkmaster Flex debuted Mystikal’s first song under the YMCMB umbrella, “Original.” The track features Baby and Wayne.

“The song we did with me, him and Wayne was the first song we ever recorded,” Birdman says of the track. “I felt like ‘it would be a great way of embracing you. You with us. You on the team.’ We gonna do a lot of songs together. But it’s about him. I wanna see him do his thing, but we’ll do things together because we so team orientated. But I’m excited. He’s a talent. He can rap.”

In September, Mystikal told MTV News he had been working with former Cash Money artist and producer Mannie Fresh on some “monsters.” However, according to The Birdman, those records probably won’t be on the album. At least if it is up to him — which it is.

“I never heard none of them,” he said about the Mystikal/ Fresh collaborations. “But honestly, I don’t care to work with Fresh and none of his music. That’s [Mystikal’s] prerogative. If that’s what he wants to do, I’mma respect that. But if it’s on me, I want him with all new music. No disrespect to Fresh, but we ain’t on that sound. He do what he do. We do what we do. I love the producers we have from the Cool and Dre to Detail to Mr. Beats to DJ Khaled. They have the sound that’s poppin’. The sound that’s putting 100,000 in these arenas every night. Boi-1da, the T-Minus —that’s what we working with.”

Birdman says Mystikal’s albums should be out in May, the same month as fellow new Cash Money signee Busta Rhymes. —Shaheem Reid