Fighting an uphill battle
It''s been reported that actor Shia LaBeouf plans to make a movie about rapper Cage''s life, and it''s not hard to see why. Since Cage began recording with Def Jux in 2005, the expressive act has revealed just how disturbing his drug- and abuse-ridden past has been. His latest album, Depart From Me, is no easy listen, but the pain that inspired these tracks equals a rock-tinged barrage of honest, indie hip-hop.
At times here Cage sounds more punk rocker than MC, but that evolution works to his benefit. In the process of expelling his inner-demons, the New Yorker allows his past to drive his music rather than worrying about conforming to hip-hop standards. With production being handled by friends like El-P, Aesop Rock and the late Camu Tao, the angst-driven, guitar-laced beats help Cage tackle issues of drug addiction (“Dr. Strong”), co-dependency (“Strain”) and even weight (“Fat Kids Need an Anthem”). But the album isn''t entirely about overcoming his past; the classic punk-rock-styled “Kick Rocks” is little more than a simple anthem telling leeches in life to piss off, and it''s one of the LP''s catchiest moments. In the end, Cage''s goal of shedding all toxins results in one inspiring opus. [4 out of 5 stars]