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Cage: Depart From Me

By Darren Chapelreviews
Jul 8, 2009 - 12:30 AM

Listen to "Nothing Left to Say"

Download: "Nothing Left to Say"

Download: Cage's I Never Knew You EP for free.

What happened to Cage at a young age has given him an arsenal of painful memories to concoct his morose and catchy flows from. I guess helping your dad shoot heroin will do that to a kid.

The New York-based artist is back after about four years with his latest album, Depart From Me, a highly personal record that lets the artist clear the air. There is a gloomy feel to most of the fourteen tracks, and his distinct style remains strong throughout the album. On the disc, Cage explores new artistic space, and his unique delivery and excellent writing prop this album up. It's definitely worth picking up.

For a hip-hop album, the beats are extremely guitar heavy. There are few samples on the record, and there is either an electric guitar or synthesizer on most of the songs. While different from past albums, the guitar and synth-infused beats are catchy and appealing in many ways. Sean Martin, former member of the hardcore band Hatebreed, produces various cuts on the album, adding plenty of catchy, heavily distorted guitar to tracks.

Watch: "I Never Knew You" (dir. by the kid from Transformers)

The first track, “Nothing Left to Say,” begins with him whispering poetry about his late friend Camu Tao over some light synthesized sounds. After some dark words and a huge build-up, he erupts into a synth-heavy El-P beat underneath an impressive flow. It’s one of the strongest songs on the album, and it sets the tone for the following tracks.

What carries this album is Cage's talent as a writer. Conveying his eerie and painful memories seems to come easy to him, and his songs are a window into his personal life. "I Found My Mind in Connecticut," one of the best songs of the album, talks about depression, suicide and the pain that has plagued his life. "Dr. Strong" recaps his time in a mental hospital as a kid and the abandonment he felt while growing up. Both songs make the neck hair stand up.

Other than the personal feel of Cage's lyrics and style, the other aspect of the album that stands out is its slow tempo. Though he mixes up the pace of his rhymes, the beats are mostly slow. The first single, "I Never Knew You," is about obsessing over a beautiful girl, and like lots of the others, it has a slow tempo and heavy guitar chords on top. Accompanying the album's strengths are some flaws. "Kick Rocks" has a poppy hook and 80's feel to it. "Fat Kids Need an Anthem" is also a miss, another guitar heavy track that rubs the wrong way. The feel of these two songs doesn’t fit in with the overall spirit of the album.

Overall, this album is definitely worth checking out for no other reason than Cage’s excellent writing. The beats will either move you or lose you, but the writing and delivery are both spot on. It’s tough to tell how long he will be able to write these deep and dark songs, pouring his soul out across a beat. But as long as it’s coming out, he’ll have a strong fan base.

Sometimes I think I should be more private - Keep it secret. But the open book of my life isn't really worth reading, cover to cover. There's something pointing toward leaving, I don't give a fuck what you think. When you finish I'm not breathing.

- Cage - I Found My Mind in Connecticut


Darren Chapel wrote this review a month ago. His slow ass editor just took forever to post it.

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