For Those Who Can't Sleep On Hip Hop

REVIEW: MICKEY FACTZ – 740 PARK AVENUE(MIXTAPE)

Mickey Factz has always been one of the most underrated emcees in the world of hip hop. With the release of his powerful mixtape, “740 Park Avenue,” Mr. Factz better be prepared for the non-stop pressure that comes from solidifying his place in the spotlight…because now it’s truly his time to shine.

“740” is a concept album centered around Mickey imagining that he was a former doorman at the luxury co-op apartment building in New York City. An unnamed interviewer who is filming a documentary about the residence asks Mickey a variety of questions. The mixtape even has a “floorplan” design with song titles and production credits.

During the “Doorman’s Entrance” Mickey mentions that one of the wealthy residents noticed him reading a book about Malcolm X. Mickey is astonished that the man knows nothing about this iconic figure in history and immediately launches into the searing, “Detroit Red,” envisioning himself as Malcolm in his early years as a ruthless street hustler (“Grew up in a world full of thieves, son of Earl and Louise, yearning for greed, I was working for me!”) The intensity of the track is complimented by piano stabs and samples from Spike Lee’s, “Malcolm X.” It culminates with Denzel Washington(as Malcolm)laughing eerily into the abyss. As the song ends, we return to the interview. Mickey reminisces over the time a business man asked him(that given his “lowly” status in life)if he felt anyone would miss him after he died. This in turn, leads into “7.13.82 – 2.29.14,” a sobering reflection on an artist’s life and the “revisionist history” created by the media and society as a whole. The ghost of Mickey Factz serves as a tour guide through the phoniness & insincerity he observes from above(“Rappers that ain’t answer texts sayin’ we mad tight and that they cried when they heard the news last night/ I made a couple top 5’s, Am I that nice? It’s March 1st an’ I’m thinkin’ bout my past life/ Put a flashlight on all the bad advice and now it’s half price shirts on the Rest In Peace Mickey Factz site/ An’ all the haters disappear…Yeah right! Last pic on Instagram got mad likes/My niece has one uncle/ the streets fill with drunk puddles/ All my downloads have just doubled/My closet got raided/My YouTube views got elevated/and new school dudes say I’m their favorite!”) Brilliant.

Next up, this Bronx-bred mc shows all the up and coming Lil’ Wayne & Young Jeezy influenced rappers how he gets down in the southern-flavored club banger, “Iont Care.” The track is followed by “Cafune,” a smooth, airy aural diary detailing the struggles of a working class artist trying to maintain a loving relationship without having the Jay-Z credit to make the financial problems go away. “Smoke Screen” peers into the lies told to an artist by industry executives and so-called friends. The track trails off into Mickey explaining to the interviewer that he would love the seemingly obtainable wealth of a famous and beloved NBC television family,”The Huxtables.” I can’t say enough about this particular track. The jazzy groove, Steven Tyner’s soulful singing and Mickey’s amazing flow meld together perfectly. The concept and execution are flawless. Mickey is campaigning to raise money for three other tracks on the project(via IndieGogo),but if any song on the album deserves the video treatment, it’s this one!

“Still Better Than You” is a hardcore, high energy track with lyrics to die for(“Prince of New York, I’m a casanova/ I had a vision of Biggie smokin’ on marijuana/He said Vanity’s got yo’ shoulders actin’ bolder, so since you wanna be the prince I put the apple on ya/ I’m from a town where the guns Blaaooww, an’ if you heard a buckshot, Duck Down…”) It’s lyrical heaven. “Just This Last Time” involves a conversation Mickey had with Jay-Z, who instructs him how to properly merge creativity and commerce & navigate through the trials and tribulations of the music industry without selling out. Too bad it was all a dream. Another verse mentions a friend who continues to cheat on his girlfriend despite the fact she is the best thing to ever enter his life. “NeS” breaks down the most beautiful aspects of a woman while “13th Disciple” centers around Mickey trying to reconcile his sinful behavior with faith and spirituality.

“Because of U” transports us back to the 80’s when Mickey went from one of his lowest points in life(being homeless) to eventually meeting graffiti legends and traveling overseas to Beijing. The track ends with the interviewer inquiring about any horror stories at 740 Park. Mickey mentions that one Christmas he received a card from Vera Wang with a tip for $4.14. The actual song, “4.14” then chronicles the past two years of the talented lyricist’s life. He went from being a signed artist with $90,000 saved, to ending up with $4.14 in his bank account. That’s a TRUE horror story! The final track, “Doorman’s Exit” concludes with the filter from Mickey’s doorman voice lifting to reveal Mickey’s actual vocals stating, “I’m basically dependent on the only talent I have…and it just so happens that I’m talented at it.” Mickey realizes that providing his fans with free music is fine as long as he doesn’t have to dilute the content. He loves and appreciates his art. Both casual listeners and fans alike are guaranteed to love it too!

– Kevin Keith

Below is the 740 Park Avenue album from Youtube & the link to Mickey’s IndieGogo page. Donate to his video package campaign and show gratitude and appreciation to this incredible emcee. Keep TRUE hip hop alive!

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Ice-T recently spoke out about Jay-Z “appropriating” his concept for “99 Problems” in an interview on radio.com. Apparently, Brother Marquis of the 2 Live Crew made the comment, “Man, I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one,” after a conversation he and Ice were having about the Tag Team hit, “Whoomp! There it is!” and the girls in Miami. Chris Rock was a fan of Ice’s 1993 track off of the “Home Invasion” album and told Rick Rubin that Jay-Z should remake it. Ice still doesn’t understand why Jay never gave him any props for being the originator, but that’s hip hop life…we guess. [click to continue…]

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Ma$e Murders Mass

July 22, 2014

Ma$e has reportedly severed ties with churches he led in Atlanta and Phoenix to focus on rap full time. Already stirring up anger with followers after divorcing his wife, Ma$e plans to push things even further by returning to an industry that may have forgotten about him ages ago. Will he survive yet another return to the cutthroat music industry? We’ll find out when he drops his next album tentatively titled, “Now We Even.”

Below is a video from his last comeback attempt, “Welcome Back.”

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Unreleased Earl

July 22, 2014

Earl Sweatshirt is hands down one of the best lyricists on the scene today. His entire Odd Future crew display enough talent and charisma to keep us involved and entertained for years to come. A throwback track(“Rats”) from the vaults recently surfaced. It’s produced by leader & frontman, Tyler The Creator and was most likely considered a throwaway. But for fans feenin’ for new material, all scraps are good scraps. Below is a personal fave from back in Earl’s “Sly” days – “Gold.”

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Every era in hip hop has its own “mystery rapper,” who emerges from out of nowhere with a distinctive and engaging style but no video or public appearances to support him. Back in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, we had The Madd Rapper(later revealed to be Bad Boy Entertainment’s, D-Dot Angelettie) and today we have Your Old Droog. Many speculated that the mc was actually Nas(his tone, delivery, references and metaphors are nearly identical- pitch correct the vocals & you can remove the “nearly” part), but those “in the know” claim he is actually a Russian kid from Brooklyn.

The few images on the ‘net highlighting the rapper “seem” convincing, although the person showcased could easily be a figurehead “in on the joke” assigned to further mask Nas’ true identity. It would make sense for an artist of Nas’ stature to pull a stunt like this. It allows him full creative freedom without industry interference. It seems that the public at large won’t know the truth for a long time…Hmm, maybe not THAT long with today’s spoiler driven society. Either way, Droog’s self titled EP is raw hip hop at it’s best. Mac Miller claims to have recently cut a track with the elusive emcee, so there will definitely be new music on the way. And who really cares if it is or isn’t Nas? Action Bronson sounds a lot like Ghostface and we respect and love ‘em both! Much success to Your Old Droog and the winking “Clockwork Orange” reference(“Droog” means friend) in his name.

Below is the EP. Sample it for yourself. We followed it up with, “Rhyme Strange,” a murky track from when the lyricist called himself, Imaginary Droog(The key word here is: imaginary)and sounded more like The Game.

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