No one knows the familiar ATM struggle better than Mickey Factz. You know when you have less than $20 in the bank so you can’t take any of your own damn money out? The Bronx MC’s pin code became a Chinese finger trap in 2014 when he returned from touring with Lupe Fiasco and his bank balance wasn’t enough to cover the transaction fee. After building a rep as an elite lyricist with Honda Accord sponsorships and a deal with Jive Records, the stark reality moved Factz to call a time out on rap and switch to punching a clock instead of punching in verses in the booth.
“So I stopped doing music for three or four months,” he shares from a perch on NY’s High Line Park, an arboreal refuge about three stories above the asphalt jungle. “When I realized that I didn’t have any job experience I couldn’t get a job anywhere because I had been doing music for so long. I decided I had to come back and do music. It was my passion. So ‘$4.14’ was the first song I recorded coming back.”
Less than a year later Factz followed up the reality check with “4:14 AM” a literal time stamp of his life at that moment where he takes a victory lap for not being broken by being broke.
With money and time anchoring the first two installments, words only seemed right (write?) to close out the trilogy. So the first beat that Virginia beat monster Nottz sent Factz for his debut The Achievement became “414 Words.”
“I just started writing the song and then I said let me start counting before I get out of control,” he says of the paragraph math. “It got to about 300 words and I said now I know there’s maybe 8 to 9 words in a sentence on the song, so I got about these many words left to finish the song out. Now I gotta come up with a hook and I can’t repeat the hook because it’ll go over 414 words. So I wrote the hook out and it ended exactly on 414 words and I said that’s it, let’s record this now.”
The song is efficient as it is colorful, threading his life story into Nottz’ sonic patchwork.
“Back in 2008 everybody kind of knew who Mickey Factz was,” he says. “Nobody was putting out music for free and on top of that I was wearing clothing that’s still popular today; skinny jeans, colorful sneakers, etc. Not only was it the music it was the fashion I was into. I brought together these two worlds and I was doing Honda commercials, cover of XXL, BET, MTV. So people knew the name but for whatever reason the marketing wasn’t on point. People didn’t want to do certain things when it came to my career. So it kind of stagnated me a little bit. But we’re back now, ready to push forward.”
Watch as Mickey tells the story behind the lines in “414 Words” and his plans for The Achievement.