Rating: 9 / 10
“I knew I had talent. I knew I could draw. I knew I could make work come to life on the wall. I knew I was creative… but my overall goal wasn’t to be the best. I just wanted respect from my peers. A sense of admiration from people who’d see my work…”
As the introduction plays, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between Mickey Factz and “MauSe,” the character that he portrays in his latest project. The aspiration to be respected is something that should drive any person who’s been in the limelight, and Factz is no different. He’s had all of the motivation in the world in the last few years; from seeing several of the artists from his respective XXL covers blossom into notable stars or fade into the background, Mickey’s somehow stuck right in the middle. He’s been releasing quality projects, but as far as garnering the attention needed for his career to reach the heights of some of his peers? It hasn’t happened.
So it seems that out of that realization, “MauSe” was born. A character created by Factz to parallel his personal thoughts, feelings, emotions, and more in another attempt to garner the recognition he (and others) feels that he so righteously deserves. Mickey MauSe, according to Factz, isn’t a mixtape; it’s a soundtrack based around the life of this created character/street artist, and the moment you approach the project with open ears is the moment you realize how different this soundtrack is from anything else. In this case, that’s a great thing.
An interesting aspect about Mickey MauSe is that it’s as educational as it is musical. The songs are steeped in the time period of the late ’80s, and for authenticity, MauSe is full of references to the culture at that juncture. From name-dropping select basketball players from the Knicks, to mentioning Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Hulk Hogan, it’s an immersive experience that illuminates almost every step of the way. The character is introduced, developed, and expounded on during the mixtape through music and interludes (addressed as “Memoirs”). Granted, a few of these are extremely lengthy, and that could be one of the few legit gripes concerning it as a whole (and as you replay the project), but it still fits perfectly in the veins of what Factz was trying to accomplish with his soundtrack.
Of course, the details mean nothing if the music doesn’t measure up, but thankfully it does. Almost all of the tracks are self-produced by Factz (with a little assistance from FKi, Felix Cartal, and Justin Rose) and interestingly enough contain samples from Dangermouse and Dead Mau5 (pronounced “Mouse”). “Union Square” has MauSe describing his surroundings while showing his ambition, while “Chalk” has his character diving in nose-first (literally) into his newfound fame. There’s also the typical emcee songs present with a twist of cleverness as well; “The Arts” is an outro filled with clever bars, and “Dreams of Money” features Mickey doing ad-libs as MauSe blacks out on the instrumental.
Not Mickey Factz, but Mickey Mouse… the Disney character. I can’t make this up, lol.
It’s hard to imagine this not being a type of swan song for the MC; the amount of effort and time put into the project is obvious, and explains why he went silent within the last year musically. The project isn’t perfect, but it’s close to it, and there’s a few things that can’t be disputed: the soundtrack/character concept was executed well, the lyrics are top notch, and the songs fit the project almost perfectly, even if the production strikes some as “progressive.” Even if you don’t like it, you still have to respect the talent and creativity… but for some reason, I think that was Mickey’s true goal all along.
Download Mickey Factz’ Mickey MauSe here.