EP Review | Mickey Factz, Blu & Nottz – The Narrative

This extended play was released on August 20th this year. This will be my first time listening to a project from Mickey Factz. I’m really not that familiar with him as an artist. I’ve only heard him on features in the past, but I’ve never come away from any of his verses with disappointment. I think he’s a really talented MC. He recently dropped a song called WRAiTH, which was a diss targeting Royce da 5’9″, and it’s a pretty amazing track. Definitely make sure you check that shit out if you haven’t yet. That song is part of why I’m so excited to check this project out. Blu is also one of my favorite rappers, and I think Nottz is an incredibly talented producer. I won’t be surprised if this ends up being one of the better projects I’ve heard this year.

I really love the soulful, melodic production from Nottz on the opening track, Stay Down.

The autobiographical rapping from Blu on the first verse is fantastic too.

I was born in South Central, 1983
My mama and my daddy made me a G
My last name Barnes like the giant AG
And my first name John 'cause my daddy named me
After him, tall and slim, gangster's grin
And I grew up the same way thanks to him
He used to write my mom poetry
That became the flow in me

The sung hook from Iman Omari is really nice as well. He kinda went ham & cheese on the autotune, but I got used to it after a few seconds. I don’t think the verse from Mickey is as good as that of Blu, but it was still pretty entertaining. Both of them fit over this production style really well. I think the song is really dope. Track 2 is called Freedom, and I think the production here is honestly pretty amazing. It’s soulful just like the first track, but it’s also kind of glitchy and experimental sounding. I love it. The opening verse from Mickey Factz is fire too.

I became free at twenty-six
Left my nine-to-five screaming, "freedom isn't this"
Free agent speaking through the glyphs
Now the fans freebasing off my shit
Used to be signed, now I'm a free man, Morgan
Write my rhymes down freehand, drawing
Thinking out loud, freelance author

I really like the way he flowed over this weird beat. The vocals on the hook from Tarriona “Tank” Ball are really damn good too. The second verse from Blu is pretty dope, but it’s really the third verse from Kota the Friend that impressed me the most. I’d never actually heard any of Kota’s music before, so this was my first impression of him as a musician. I’ve heard some scandalous rumors about him, so I didn’t think I would like him, but I can neither confirm nor deny whether or not they are true. He rhymed really well on this track though. I think he did a great job. The song is dope as hell to me. Track 3 is entitled Roll Up, and I think it’s pretty dope. The percussion here sounds a lot dustier, and overall I’d say the production is less soulful and melodic than that of the preceding couple tracks. It’s one of my favorite beats on the project though. The opening verse from Blu is fire.

Since the rise of the coronavirus, we have lost over three million lives, a moment of silence
Now back to blacks rioting and other black men killed by police being violent
And the passing of Kobe Bryant, plus GiGi and the family's with him, and the pilot

The hook from Mickey Factz is pretty good, and he did a nice job on his verse aside from that antivax line.

These vaccines making our babies' genes recessive
Make a new disease, that pharma greed's obsessive
Bill Gates and COVID-19 became aggressive
Both entities want us to cease, you get the message?

You know, I really had faith that Mickey wouldn’t be an antivaxer just because he’s close with Lupe Fiasco, but I guess I was wrong. Anyway, aside from that, I think he did a great job. The song is dope. It’s followed by another highlight for me entitled Reign, which was released as a single ahead of the project’s full release.

I like the grandiose production a lot, and the first verse from Mickey is great. That color scheme he had was pretty tight.

Luckily, avoid all fuckery
Tryna help your bank accounts look like gluttony
Rose gold cutlery, luxury
Utterly the best with my company
Discover me and Blu 'cause we got ’еm seeing red
Now we getting color green, that's thе summary

I like the hook on this track too. Particularly the sample of Missy Elliott singing “I can’t stand the rain.” That was dope. The second verse from Blu is really good too. I don’t know whose verse I prefer between him & Mickey.

If any ask, it's the God in him
Pardon him
It ain't a nut busting hard as him

The final verse is performed by Asher Roth, whose music I’ve always avoided just because my first impression of him was I Love College. However, the features that I’ve heard from him have all been pretty good, and this one is no exception.

It's hard to keep your heart and feel sorry for all the martyrs
Part of me's George Carlin, all of this is just fodder
'Cause for every hail Mary, Lord prayer, our Father
And for all of the arrivals that dabbles on planes chartered
Even when football is partnered with Shawn Carter
It's never disarming officers that wanna hunt darker

I don’t think he has the best voice for rapping, but he clearly has a knack for rhyming. He did a great job. The song is dope. The penultimate track is entitled One, and it’s one of the most exciting songs in the tracklist just because it features both Fashawn & Oswin Benjamin. I really like the soulful production from Nottz, and the opening verse from Blu is great.

No man knows the time, no man knows the hour
But when that time comes, we all cowered
Lord showered down the knowledge to be infinite
To be limitless, to be immortal, Lord, give me that power
Mothers used to say, "Give me my flowers while I can still smell 'em"
I used to keep a hand out to help 'em
Knowing that God said he's coming back one day
I'm hoping that he sees my good deeds and lets some stay

Part of me was a little disappointed that Fashawn was relegated to the hook, but the hook itself is pretty good. I think Mickey spit one of his best verses on the project on this song too.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul
If I close the blinds, are the windows still exposed?
God's coming back and we're curious to know
If my sinning took its toll, will he let me in the door?

The final verse from Oswin Benjamin is definitely the best part of the song to me to be honest. I just feel like his lyricism was the most interesting and well-written. He killed this song.

Looking for peace inside of the parable
Full fitting to folly to find a joint comparable
My mama told me either pray or worry
'Cause she know that fate could keep a mountain stagnant
That a mustard seed of faith could move
I chose the latter moving
Through the Tower of Babel, level confusion
I know that something is brewing
Neglected chatter from those who speak chapters of hot disdains
While I'm praying rapture so this broken soul remains

Overall, I think the song is really dope. The closing track is entitled Dark Souls, and it features ELHAE & Sy Ari da Kid. ELHAE is an artist that I know I’ve listened to before, but it was such a long time ago that I can’t remember whether or not he’s good. I remember getting into him because he had a song with Tory Lanez back in 2013. Anyway, the somber, piano-driven production on this track is really nice, and Blu killed the first verse. I definitely appreciate the content of this track. Anti-police songs usually have a way more aggressive tone, but this song is more of a lamentation. I think ELHAE’s singing sounds pretty great on the hook thankfully. The second verse from Mickey in which he describes a rough encounter with a racist police officer was pretty interesting, and I actually think Sy Ari da Kid killed that last verse.

Some days, I really feel like God not listening
Officer pulled me over, don't worry, I'm not resisting it
Hands up, voice low, no I'm not lifting it
I gotta make it home 'cause I got children and
I feel like they gon' starve if I'm not living and
They want me to spaz, but I'm not giving in
I got wisdom, before I get shot by this pig in
This cold world, dead officer, I'm- *bang*

The song is really dope overall. I don’t have any gripes with it.

This is a pretty dope project. It’s not quite as great as I was expecting it to be, but I can’t really say that I’m disappointed at all. There aren’t any tracks that I wouldn’t say are dope. It’s a very consistent project. It’s all killer and no filler. Honestly, I really don’t have any actual gripes with it aside from that one antivax line from Mickey. I think all of the verses are really well written, and the features all came through and did a nice job. There weren’t really any moments that blew me away, but not everything has to be super amazing to be enjoyable. I’d still say this is a pretty great project overall. It’s super consistent. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Favorite Song: Freedom
Least Favorite Song: Roll Up


Grade: B+

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