Mickey Factz – The Epitome of Authentic Modern Day Hip-Hop
Hip-Hop is more than just a genre; It’s more than just words being put to a beat. It’s a lifestyle. New York-bred rapper, Mickey Factz is the epitome of authentic modern day Hip-Hop. Reigning from the Bronx borough of New York City, Mark ‘Mickey Factz’ Williams Jr. began paving his way into the rap game ten years ago. With his unique, one-of-a-kind, raw lyricism, Factz’s has managed to deliver such a stupendous flow and rich sound, through his music—which is one of the things that has set him apart from the rest, since day one. His talent exudes rarity in its purest form. Mickey Factz has crafted his own lane. A lane that is quite unmatchable.
Growing up in the ‘home of Hip-Hop’, Factz learned to embrace the culture at an early age. He grew up listening to legendary rappers, such as Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J, gaining musical influence that he would thrive from, creatively, later in life.
After putting his academic aspirations on hold for music, passing up on a spot at NYU Law School, Factz chose to pursue Hip-Hop, full-time. He was serious about his art and he wanted that to be his main focus. In 2006, Factz hit the scene with his mixtape, In Search of N.E.R.D.. The mixtape included a total of thirteen songs, in which he freestyled over N.E.R.D. (the funk rock band helmed by Pharrell) instrumentals. Making it into his own distinctive project, Factz then caught the attention of Pharrell, himself.
From there, the lyricist perfected his craft even more. His critically-acclaimed mixtape, Heaven’s Fallout, dropped in 2007, rapidly growing his fanbase. In 2009, Mickey Factz was named XXL’s ‘Freshman Class of ’09’ and appeared on the issue’s cover. He released more projects, including The Dark Phoenix Alpha, I’m Better Than You, Love.Lust.Lost and Mickey MauSe—which are still talked about, even to this day. The release of Mickey MauSe brought about a great amount of success within the mainstream realm. Though a sequel to Mickey MauSe had been in the works, Factz dropped five other mixtapes, from 2012 until 2015, due to Mau2e (sequel to Mickey MauSe) being put on halt.
Just recently, in October of 2016, Factz released his debut album, The Achievement: Circa ’82. This body of work not only showcases his growth, as an artist, but he also makes it very clear that this is for the fans and the people who have been supporting him along the journey.
Having worked with some of today’s hardest hitters in the game, such as Marsha Ambrosius, Drake, B.o.B, Travis McCoy, The Cool Kids, and even Hip-Hop veteran, Afrika Bambaataa, Mickey Factz is truly a pivotal part of today’s Hip-Hop arena. He continues to aim for greatness—using his music as a way to creatively and artistically tell the stories of those untold, while bringing back the true art of Hip-Hop.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Mickey Factz about his new album, the journey, and the long-awaited Mickey MauSe sequel.
Parlé Mag: So, let’s talk about your album, The Achievement: Circa ‘82. What inspired the title
Mickey Factz: Well, back in 2008, I was putting out a song, every day, for free. By doing that, it kind of jump-started what everybody kind of does now—in terms of music. So, after the first seventeen songs, I called it ‘The Understanding’. Then, I did another seventeen songs, and it was called ‘The Inspiration’. So, essentially, The Achievement was supposed to be the end of the trilogy, but, being that I never put the album out—back in 2008, it was only right that, once I got the album done now, I was able to call it The Achievement now.
Parlé Mag: This project was produced by Nottz. You also have a few features from Mack Wilds, Styles P, Curren$y, and a couple of others. Tell us about how the project and everyone on it came together.
Mickey Factz: Oh, yeah. For sure. As far as Nottz goes, Nottz had about—I wanna say, twenty to twenty-five albums that he said he was going to put out this year. I wanted to be a part of that, and I wasn’t initially a part of it. I guess you can say it was more so of a—not an ego thing, but more so of a man—a jealous kind of thing. So, I reached out to him and he said, ‘Yeah, you can be a part of it!’. He sent me beats, right then and there, and then I just started picking beats, off of the internet, that he would post on his Instagram and choose those beats for the album. What was interesting about that was, the artists who are on the album—such as Curren$y, Phonte, or whatever, people would hear the beats on the pages and say, ‘Hey, I could hear Curren$y on this song; I could hear Styles P on this song.’. I would then reach out to those guys, and make the album. [laughs] So, like, I basically listened to the fans, inadvertently—and they didn’t know, to create this album.
Parlé Mag: Okay! How do you determine what your visuals or concepts for the songs will be like?
Mickey Factz: That’s a very good question! Now, as for as the first two visuals, I put out, I was on tour in March, earlier this year, and two directors reached out, seeing that I was on tour. They were like, ’Hey, can we please shoot videos for you?’. I was like, ‘I got an album coming out, later this year. Nobody’s heard it; why don’t you guys shoot these videos?’. It was very, very short notice; so, we just kind of put together whatever we could, at the moment. The two videos that came out so far are what was happened. I just finished speaking to Styles P’s manager; we’re getting ready to shoot that video [VS]. And, I have a concept for that. Also, I’m shooting the “I’m Good” record, I believe next week. I’m shooting the Phonte song in two weeks. I’m shooting something in Virginia. So, we kind of just pulled together to make so many different ideas. I always like to be as creative as possible; I told them, ‘Whatever you guys want to do, let’s do it.’. That first video was a snowstorm in Chicago, and I was like, ‘Let’s shoot a video in a snowstorm.’.
Parlé Mag: A snowstorm?
Mickey Factz: It was a blizzard and we still made it work—which was a beautiful kind of thing.
Parlé Mag: That’s interesting, in the middle of a blizzard. [laughs]
Mickey Factz: Yeah, middle of a blizzard!
Parlé Mag: Being in this game for ten years, what’s it like to have people still loving you, still listening to your music, and still wanting to hear more?
Mickey Factz: Oh my God. It’s like, I’m still in shock and in disbelief. You know, when you look at people who came out in 2006—hey, even 2012, there are people who are still no longer around. The fact that people still want to hear music from me and still purchase my music, and still say my music inspires them, is an incredible feeling. I don’t take anything for granted because, at any given time, this could be taken from me. I don’t want that to happen. I feel like, everybody should live their dreams.
Parlé Mag: I agree!
Mickey Factz: So, just that fact that people just want to hear what I have to say, appreciate my lyricism, and appreciate my ideas and content. It almost brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, because, again, it can be taken away from me. I don’t want to be one of those artists who take advantage of the talent and the blessing that they’ve gotten to do music full-time—or for a living, for that matter. You know, everybody feels like everything is in the now, but I’m just appreciating that people just appreciate me. That’s why when we got on the call, I was like, ‘I’m grateful that you’re listening to me.’ because I could be back at work. And, I don’t want that to happen. [laughs]
Parlé Mag: I feel you! So, you actually included messages from your fans, closing out the album.
Mickey Factz: Yes!
Parlé Mag: How did that come about?
Mickey Factz: As far as Mickey Factz goes, I always like to do something that, you know, is not the norm. So, I was on Facebook one day, and I was like, ‘You know what, man. I’ma just put out a message, saying, ‘You want to be on my album? Just leave ten seconds [voice recording] to a specific email and I’ll add you to the album. Telling me what your name is and what you want to achieve.’. I received a lot, and I took the first ten messages I got and added them to the album. So, it’s like ten messages, ten songs on the album. I loved what people had to say; it was encouraging to me. I wanted to involve my fan base in what I was doing.
Parlé Mag: That’s great. I’m sure the fans would like to know. You announced you were doing a sequel to Mickey MauSe back in 2014. Why the wait?
Mickey Factz: Now, this is the question I like! Okay, Mickey MauSe is a very personal project, and, being that it’s so intricate, I wanted to get it done. I wanted to get three projects done in 2014 when I returned back to music. I only got a chance to do two projects; I did 740 Park Avenue and then I did Love.Lust.Lost.II. The following year, I was going to do Mau2e—which was 2015, but I didn’t have means to a studio, to kind of go in and produce every song and write everything how I did the first one. So, I just did Y-3. Then, I said, ‘I need to get the album out before I start working on Mau2e’. So, I said, ‘You know what. Let’s get the album done first’. Now that the album is done, I just started working on Mau2e, last week, while I was in Florida. It’s definitely a project that needs a lot of attention. It’s going to come out 2017. Probably around the end of the year. So, hopefully, me and you can get back on it and talk about this.
Parlé Mag: Yes, of course!
Mickey Factz: It takes a lot to put this [Mau2e] together because it’s a fictional character in a real life world, in a time period. This storyline is going to take place from 1988-1996. So, it’s like homework; I have to do a lot of research, a lot of studying, a lot of reading. And, then, I’m producing everything. I’m shooting a short film for it; I’m making the music for it. It just takes a lot to put together! But, my fans, they love it; they are excited for it. I’m up for the challenge. I want to make this as grand and as epic as possible.
Parlé Mag: It seems like you’re really going to put your creative foot forward for this project!
Mickey Factz: Yeah! It’s like method acting. I’m going to become this person, and I have to do things that this person does. It’s not Mickey Factz; it’s Mickey MauSe. He’s not even a rapper. He’s a painter. So, even though his story is being told in rap form, he’s not a rapper. I think that’s what grasps people. It’s not something that they’ve heard about or heard before. It’s a story about somebody, who they don’t know, but they are so intrigued by it. So, I’m excited about this character!
Parlé Mag: As you should be! You’ve been here quite some time. So, you’re very conscious of the game of Hip-Hop. Seeing as where Hip-Hop used to be, and seeing where it is now, do you feel it has changed? If so, what do you think today’s Hip-Hop arena lacks?
Mickey Factz: I just feel like, today’s Hip Hop—as far as mainstream radio, what it’s lacking is a balance. There’s not a balance between lyrical Hip-Hop and mainstream Hip Hop. I feel like everybody has their own style, and everything should be sprinkled out, equally. I don’t feel like lyrical Hip Hop is a genre of music that people gravitate to, to play on the radio. I also feel like, ten years ago, when I first came in, people were still buying music. It was starting to shift, but people still purchased music. People still went platinum and gold. Nowadays, it’s a little bit more difficult, you know; they’re trying to have the streams be what determine how you go gold or platinum. It’s kind of confusing, but, for me, I just try to worry about the content. I want to give something to people that they can hold onto for the rest of their lives, as opposed to, just music for a day, a week, or a month. I want this music to resonate with people forever. I think sometimes it feels like I’m in the wrong era for that. There has to still be a standard that we uphold and be held to. I’m trying my best to do that—carry on the legacy that was left, for the people who created this culture.
Parlé Mag: I can guess that the road to your success hasn’t been easy. How did you keep it pushing, even when the odds were against you, even when people slept on your ability to rise above?
Mickey Factz: Man, it’s a struggle every day. I wake up every day, asking myself, ‘Why am I not on this radio show?’ or ‘Why hasn’t this magazine reached out to me to do an interview?’. But, they reached out to ‘these’ guys and ‘these’ guys. Little do they know, ‘these’ guys respect me so much. It’s a constant fight. But, it also builds character. It builds perseverance, as well, because I don’t know if I want complete and total respect from everybody, but I would like people to kind of realize that I am somebody who’s liable for the culture that we’re in. Like, I know my culture. There were tons of people who were like, ‘Man, this person doesn’t know about this person or that person.’. But, I took it upon myself to learn about Hip-Hop. This is what I live; this is how I survive. For me, I’m bringing my wife, now, into this, and she’s learning to DJ. So, she can be my DJ on the road. Hip-Hop is more than just a way to make money. It’s more than just a way to exploit the dollar. It’s a way of life, for a lot of people. It’s needed, for a lot of people. People need Hip-Hop to feel happy. To get them through depression, suicide. Hip-Hop stays in that therapeutic format. I use Hip-Hop, daily, to get by. I’m blessed to know that this is what the culture is; it’s about living this thing. And, I try my best to live it every day.
Parlé Mag: So, what do you think one needs in order to succeed in this game of Hip-Hop?
Mickey Factz: Well, they need to believe in themselves, and they need a strong team. You need a strong team behind you to help you. You need to believe in yourself. Those are the two things. Just working hard, man. But, I think that comes in with, when you believe in yourself, you work hard.You can’t just let talent overcome hard work; there has to be a balance. That’s what everything is about. It’s about a balance.
Parlé Mag: Right. How would you say your early beginnings of music contributed to where you are now? As a kid! Being in New York.
Mickey Factz: Wow. Well, being in New York, first off, I didn’t even do rap. I played the trombone, as a kid. I was really good! I can actually read sheet music. Then, growing up in church—you know when you grow up in church, that’s like a whole different animal. You got that soul in you. So, I’m all about having the women coming in and sing their hearts out [imitates]. I’m all about that. That’s one of those things that it just kind of excites me, all the time.
Parlé Mag: [laughs] Indeed!
Mickey Factz: I like to sing. I listen to other people and I try to take bits and pieces from other people and incorporate it into my style. Being in New York is actually very competitive. Even back then. Everybody wanted to be a rapper. I guess that was just the cries of the ghetto, looking at television and seeing people making a way out. I didn’t even know how you could make money with Hip-Hop; I just thought people just rap. When I got my first money, I was shocked. I was like, ‘Oh, people pay this much amount of money to do this?’. ‘You got to be kidding me! This is nothing!’. I didn’t even look at it, at first, as a business. I just was looking at it as a hobby. My early beginnings were just very humble. I incorporated my love for actual instrumentation—reading music, going to church, hearing the soul within music, and then, my adolescent love for Hip-Hop. It was the rebellion. When you think of Hip-Hop, like, man, Hip-Hop is a very young and rebellious art form. As a kid, that’s what it was. It was all about rebelling. So, I appreciated that.
Parlé Mag: When it’s all said and done, what do you want the world to remember you for?
Mickey Factz: That he just always was trying to be the best that he could be, and not be something that he wasn’t. He wanted to do it his way and that all he wanted to do was help people. I’m not in this to be—I don’t want to be, like, a Jay-Z, four-hundred-million. That’s not me. I would like about ten million, though. Ten million; that’s the number. I can get ten and I’ll be like, ‘Alright, I’m good.’. But, essentially, I just want to help people, inspire people to be the best person that they can be.
Parlé Mag: What can we look forward to from you in 2017?
Mickey Factz: Okay, 2017. Definitely four to five more music videos from the album. I’m supposed to be doing an EP with Just Blaze. The album with Key Wane. Touring, domestically and internationally. And, also, MauSe, MauSe two, in December. That’s the goal. So, three music projects, music videos, touring. I’ll get this short film done. God willing, I’ll get some other opportunities to come to fruition. But, I want to kind of do everything that’s set out for me to do. I want to be the best that I can be.
Parlé Mag: You’re going to be pretty busy!
Mickey Factz: Yeah! Like, super busy. But, it’s what it takes when you have a goal. I actually do have a goal for next year. So, I’m hoping that I can make that goal happen.
Main Image by: Jason Forbes
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