Mickey Factz-thedarkphoenix: #ALPHA Review and Download

Dropping new Mickey Factz before anyone else in this fine country, so take advantage. (EDIT: They’ve probably caught up now as I’ve opted to write a review.)

This is an 8-track mixtape/EP, which is unlike anything Mickey has done before in terms of concept.

“While the world awaits the sun to rise to begin life, we await it to fall to become alive. The shadows is our solitude and catalyst for true art and thought. Amongst it, we are not damned nor idolized. Therefore we can only be true to ourselves. And from that, the world will eventually seek light and understanding. – The Dark Phoenix”

Click on to grab the music, and read the review!

“The dawn of a new day is approaching. A rebirth is upon us. The beginning is here. darkphoenix:ALPHA is a collection of art from an artist reborn. From the eery opus, to the climatic finale, Mickey Factz breathes change on the beginning of a decade. Always remaining timeless and innovative, the dexterity and focus of the art is based upon Factz’s continuous journey to find himself through love, joy, pain, strife and success. The human eye witnesses all of these traits daily. Mickey uses the colors Red, Blue and Green to see everything he lives through, tracing everything back to the origin of its existence. The beginning… Alpha is only the beginning for The Dark Phoenix. So we ask the people to dig themselves out of their own ashes and rise with us to our dreams…”

The appropriately-titled Sunrise opens up with a nicely used set of strings, which build toward a whole change of direction as Mickey drops some nice flows over a quiet melody which juxtaposes nicely with the progressive strings. Throughout his raps, the production begins to build into something bigger, and Mickey’s delivery appropriately fills with emotion as the track progresses into another quiet drop. The track then builds once more, with an almost hushed intensity which again is played up in Mickey’s delivery. Lyrically, the track is something you need to listen to a few times to catch everything: On first listen, Mickey’s blasting out messages and metaphors which are all well-delivered.

Amnesia is once again an appropriate title in terms of the track’s style: The sombre, haunting element of the last track is forgotten and replaced by some raw drums and a more uptempo vibe around the track. Lyrically, you get the feeling that this is an epiphany of sorts and that this track is a foundation for which the artistic integrity of both the EP/mixtape and Mickey will develop.

Turn It Up strikes me as a victory for the production here, as Mickey’s verse is short and sweet. The beat is nice though, and there are definite elements of UK dubstep and grime in there for sure, which will hopefully appease those of you into that whole scene (looking at you Bobby).

Everyone knows I love Maxwell’s music, and with a passion. So Mickey does something I’ve been craving someone to do, and takes Maxwell’s instrumental track Phoenix Rise from BLACKsummers’night and spits some quickfire bars for Still I Rise. Mickey’s delivery is on point, and this is definitely one of the strongest tracks on this EP. Maybe a little bias creeping in there from my previous attachment to the beat, but you can’t deny the raps either. He demonstrates here how he’s one of a handful of rappers who can deliver their raps quickly without sacrificing the lyrical depth and rhyming intricacy.

Ashes is a much more obviously introspective track. I say obviously as Mickey’s delivery slows down and his lyrical message becomes clearer, the message being one of difficult periods in a relationship. Not sure if the beat is an original or if it’s sampled from elsewhere, but the indie/alternative vibes on it fit the themes perfectly. The beat takes a turn for the electro towards the end of the track, which is initially quite disorienting and does throw you off the melancholy mood created by the rest of the track. However, I can see the thinking behind it, with the idea being to express a state of heightened emotion and possibly frustration.

S/ecrets T/hat D/estroy is a similar track to the above, with an indie/alt undercurrent being held together by a slower, more deliberate verse delivery. I like the clever title on this one too, and it’s always helpful when a song title actually helps you get a track as opposed to just confusing the hell out of you. Really feeling the hook on this one, and again I’m not sure if it’s sampled but either way it works very well. Both this track and Ashes are good displays of versatility, especially when compared to the dub-influenced Turn It Up.

Contemplations of Kings is an interesting one. I’m not totally sure how I feel about this one yet. It seems that the sample/beat is deliberately quietened to bring out the lyrics and rapping, which I appreciate as it makes the idea of contemplations more realistic, with the louder, dominant thoughts making everything else into background noise. However, it does disrupt the flow of the EP as an entirety a little, as it’s an initially unusual experience until you’re properly locked into the lyrics, which themselves are incredibly deep and this probably represents the most thoughtful and emotionally immersive track on the EP.

The EP ends appropriately with Sunset, and Mickey comes in on a more acoustic and melodic tip. I definitely get tones of B.o.B from this sort of track, and I don’t recall having heard Mickey sing before. He definitely does a good job, and the raw feeling created by the simplicity of just having a guitar and a light melody in the production creates a really relaxing and enjoyable end to the rollercoaster ride of the previous 7 tracks.

I’d definitely recommend everyone grabs this. There’s a lot of lyrical depth for those of you who can get into that sort of thing, and there’s a really wide spectrum of production in just 8 tracks to please a range of fans. My only minor criticism is that aside from Ashes and S/ecrets T/hat D/estroy, the EP doesn’t flow smoothly when listened to from start to finish. However, it’s only a criticism on a very shallow level: as described above, the concept is that the tracks are meant to represent a journey through a range of emotions, which is not exactly going to be smooth. If that was the intention, as I suspect it is, it’s a smart move and almost reminiscient of the schizophrenic highs and lows Kid Cudi’s album delivered.

Mickey Factz-thedarkphoenix: #Alpha

Shouts to Mickey for coming through with this: Keep your eyes open for more and more Mickey over the coming weeks and months!

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3 comments to Mickey Factz-thedarkphoenix: #ALPHA Review and Download

  • mike w.

    way to suck his dick. the album almost sucked as much as this review.

  • Seeing as Ajay isn’t around to defend himself, I’ll field this one.

    Why you hating for, Mike Waxx?

  • Yet, Mr. Waxx, you’re apparently stupid enough to read the entire thing. If it sucked, then you’re either a bit of a sadist or an idiot. For someone who’s supposed to know hip-hop, saying this mixtape sucked is a ridiculous claim. You don’t have to like my review, frankly I’m glad you don’t as praise gets repetitive, but try and get your head around some decent creativity in the mixtape.

    Seeing as your analytical skills appear to be on top form (…), you’d probably notice I’ve made a habit of not sucking anyone’s dick around here too, had you taken the time. Hence, we aren’t being bent over backwards by artists/labels like some of the other blogs are…

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