Rapper Mickey Factz started his music career just two years ago, but he's accomplished plenty in that short amount of time.
After leaving New York University law school to focus on music full-time, the 23-year-old Bronx-bred MC began releasing mixtapes online in 2006. First came "In Search of the N.E.R.D.," on which Factz laid lyrics over beats made by Pharrell Williams' group. A year later he released "Flashback," followed by the critically acclaimed "Heaven's Fallout." Thanks to tracks like the sneaker-inspired "Supras," the latter mixtape quickly became a fan favorite.
At the beginning of 2008, Factz began releasing a new track every week as part of a series appropriately titled "The Leak." On "The Leak Vol. 1" and "The Leak Vol. 2," Factz released tracks like "Automatic"; "I'm Sean," dedicated to Sean Bell, who was shot to death by New York police in 2006; "Incredible"; and "Rockin' N Rollin'." The last of those, featuring the Cool Kids, was recently added to rotation on MTV. "When we leaked the first song, we probably only got like 100 downloads," he says, "and the last song we put out got about 9,000 or 10,000."
Factz has gone on to co-found his own marketing, branding and styling business and label, GFC New York (clientele includes Devin the Dude and Nipsey Hustles). He is preparing his debut album, "The Leak Vol. 3: The Achievement," scheduled for release early next year. In-house producer Precise and Illphonics (LL Cool J, the Clipse) contribute production.
"I plan on having a bunch of eclectic artists and I'm going to be touching on a lot of different subject matters like police brutality, relationships and just life—things that normal people go through," Factz says. "People want to feel like they're connected to an artist and a lifestyle and a culture, and I feel like I'm the person who's going to bring that forward."
While the weekly leaks have since been strategically halted ("We want people to yearn for more music, and what comes with yearning is purchasing," he says), Factz continues to promote his music in other ways. He appears on the cover of XXL's December issue as part of its annual top 10 up-and-coming feature. He's been performing on the college circuit, with stops at State University of New York in New Paltz and Chicago's Roosevelt University coming up, and he was part of a slew of shows and panels during this year's CMJ Music Marathon.