You can feel it in hip-hop. The old heads are getting their beach chairs ready for retirement, while the up and comers build their respective movements. The changing of the guard is upon us and it dons fluorescent hues, limited stock kicks and exclusive streetwear apparel. Yet thereâ€™s so much more to the new wave of talent then their garb. Echoing this sentiment is the Bronx native, Mickey Factz, whoâ€™s barrage of mixtapes (In Search of the N.E.R.D. , Flashback and Heavenâ€™s Fallout) have been gaining a lot of steam on the information highway. But thatâ€™s not all he has in tow. He plans on leaking a track a week until his quest for global domination is complete. Meet one of the leaders of the new school.
â€œwhen someone comes to the forefront and says I want to change how music is supposed to be listened to, you can either gravitate towards it or not. Hopefully, you will because eventually itâ€™s going to sound like this anyway.â€
Format: First of all, tell us about the GFCNY movement.
Mickey Factz: GFC New York is a creative consulting firm that deals with culture on a daily basis. Weâ€™re not just a crew or a team. The name derives from Dougie Fresh and we added the New York on it because we wanted it to symbolize that we are a business. Iâ€™m the flagship artist but we also do marketing and styling for different artists, productionâ€”as far as for movies and music. When people look at me they are looking at what GFC embodies. We also have a company named designAttic Inc. that does graphic designing. We also own Laced Magazine, which is one of the biggest sneaker mags out there.
Format: Your music, especially on Heavenâ€™s Fallout, reflects a wide variety of influences. Where did they come from?
Mickey Factz: Every mixtape before Heavenâ€™s Fallout had influences that came from straight hip-hop. There was that straight lyricism like Big Pun, Big Daddy Kane, Biggie Smalls, Rakim. But I started getting bored with making music like that so I was like you know what, Iâ€™m just a regular old rapper if I rap over this type stuff. And I wanted to be different and set myself apart from everybody else. In the process of doing
Flashback, I started venturing into Electro, Techno, House and Rock. As I was listening to that music, [getting] that feeling, that vibe, I was like this is the lane Iâ€™m going to run in. This is the lane Iâ€™m going take and run with and make it my lane so people could appreciate something thatâ€™s fresh and different but still has the grassroots of lyricism.
Format: Youâ€™re from the birthplace of hip-hop, the Bronx, but your music represents something futuristic. How do you stay true to the foundation of hip-hop but at the same time push hip-hop forward and in a different direction from what people see right now?
Mickey Factz: Afrika Bambaataa when he first started deejaying was deejaying break beats. And anybody who knows what break beats are, knows they sound like Electro and Techno music. Thatâ€™s what break beats are! So technically what Iâ€™m doing is just rehashing it. I use an Electro/Techno sound on some futuristic shit and rap over it. But I keep the grassroots lyricism in there. I always gotta make sure, lyrically, Iâ€™m on point and thatâ€™s the Bronx in me when I do that. The beats may take a long time to get used to but you can never say theyâ€™re wack. It just takes a little time for people to get used to them because itâ€™s a new sound. Basically itâ€™s the future, and Iâ€™m looking to push hip-hop forward because everything needs to evolve. Thereâ€™s no such thing as music being stagnant. Thereâ€™s no such thing as anything in life being the same. So when someone comes to the forefront and says I want to change how music is supposed to be listened to, you can either gravitate towards it or not. Hopefully, you will because eventually itâ€™s going to sound like this anyway.
Format: I feel like in hip-hop thereâ€™s a changing of the guard going down right now. Some of the cats people looked up to coming up are getting older. So I wanted to ask you whoâ€™s apart of this new wave of talent thatâ€™s going to take up where they left off and where do you fit in that mix?
Mickey Factz: In the new wave, The Cool Kids, Kid Cudi, Wale, the Knux, U.N.I., Pac Division, Remo Da Rapstar, Theophilus London. All of these artists are creative and they all have different styles. How do I fit in the genre of all of this? I feel everyoneâ€™s trying to go left but Iâ€™m really going left but itâ€™s a diagonal left. I feel like I want to be the Jay of this new movement. I want it to be like every time I drop something itâ€™s hot and people rock with it. Thatâ€™s some big shoes to fill but because I love hip-hop so much, itâ€™s a challenge Iâ€™m willing to take on head first.
Format: I think any time something new comes along in music thereâ€™s a scramble to find terms to describe or categorize that new shit. And the term thatâ€™s been floating around for a lot of the acts you named is â€œhipsterâ€ rappers. How do you feel about that tag?
Mickey Factz: Thereâ€™s no such term as a hipster rapper. Iâ€™ve never met a hipster rapper. Personally, I donâ€™t agree with the term. I know people need to classify music but personally if youâ€™re going to classify that type of music classify it as progressive hip-hop because thatâ€™s what it is. Itâ€™s progressive! Itâ€™s not boom bap anymore. Itâ€™s not jungle music anymore. Itâ€™s not Jazz. Itâ€™s not gangster. Itâ€™s progressive hip-hop. Weâ€™re moving in a progressive manner and weâ€™re doing it in a positive manner. Weâ€™re not selling drugs. Weâ€™re not busting guns. All weâ€™re doing is telling people our life story. And most times the life stories that weâ€™re telling, most people live it. I go through a regular life. I donâ€™t live a hipster life. I donâ€™t know what a hipster life is. Iâ€™m telling you my story and my struggles which is straight from urban America, straight from the ghetto. People just need to realize that just because I dress differently from the crowd and the beats that I rap over may be different that does not make me a different person from the person that grew up in the projects. Iâ€™m the same person. I donâ€™t accept the term hipster rap. I donâ€™t ride with it. I look at it as progressive hip-hop.
Format: You and a lot of the other acts you named a second ago stay doing shows touring nonstop. Is that the new business model for up and coming hip-hop artists to put out a few hot tracks, grow the buzz and just tour?
Mickey Factz: Touring is the best way to make money for a hip-hop artist thatâ€™s just starting. Itâ€™s really hard to sell records right now so people want to come out and see people perform. People do want to see a show. At the shows, people will purchase your music there. After they see you perform and after they see the energy and your heart and soul on the stage theyâ€™re willing to get to know you more through purchasing your music. That way you expand on your grassroots following and thatâ€™s why I commend the Cool Kids. I commend Wale. Them going on tours and doing shows all over the place opens doors for artists such as myself, artists such as Pacific Division. From doing that itâ€™s really pioneering a way to create revenue for artists like myself.
Format: Youâ€™re leaking a track a week. What was the thought processing going into that, the kind of way behind the whole thing?
Mickey Factz: My A&R was like â€œyo lets put out a track every week like Crooked I.â€ And you know me, I got tons of music that nobodyâ€™s ever heard. So that first four weeks of tracks was really old music. The stuff I was hearing [at the time,] I was like I need to start doing more stuff to this. Then I started recording every week for it. Sometimes I was recording two hours before I leaked it. And itâ€™s a great feeling to know that as soon as Iâ€™m done recording bam! I leak it and itâ€™s all over the internet and everybody from Australia to Wisconsin can get this one song that I put out. As the weeks go by, itâ€™s starting to pick up. I think itâ€™s going to be bigger than what Crooked I did because what Crooked I did was just freestyles. Iâ€™m doing actual songs that people can sing along to and know. Itâ€™s not just me rapping and threatening people. Itâ€™s me literally talking about my experiences, having fun, partying, relationships. Itâ€™s a whole experience and thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m loving the leak right now and the people are loving it too. You never know what to expect when I drop that track. It could be an Electro beat, a House beat or just a straight hip-hop beat. You never know what Iâ€™m going to do and thatâ€™s beauty of the leak.
Format: What projects do you have coming up and how soon can we expect a full LP?
Mickey Factz: Iâ€™m releasing two singles. â€œRock and Rollâ€™nâ€ will be released next month. The â€œSupraâ€ record will be released some time in the summer. My LP will be released in 2009. Iâ€™m working on it now and itâ€™s coming out crazy! So the leak is going to keep the fans satisfied for now. Itâ€™s going to be every week until December 31st. Iâ€™m going to be featured on a whole bunch of mixtapes. Iâ€™m going to be on tour a lot. You know a lot of cats are going to be seeing Mickey Factz more and more as the name gets bigger and bigger.