Cage - Hells Winter -
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Cage - Hells Winter

Lyrically, CD of the year. Beats are sick and the lyrics.. my god they are insane.. check it out

It's underground hip-hop for those of you who don't know who Cage is, but one of the best albums I've ever heard.

A review by Scott Ronan:

This is Cage’s first album on El-P’s Def Jux label and it finally looks like Cage has a label that is willing to get behind him and help make a dope album. When I saw the list of producers on this album I was a little unsure of what to expect as sometimes when you have too many producers on one album is can leave it feeling disjointed. However the combination of Cage’s dark and deeply personnel lyrics and the production supplied by El-P, DJ Shadow, Blockhead, RJD2, Pawl and Camu Tao left me wondering whether this could be a contender for album of the year.

I guess right about now a lot of people reading this review are going to be thinking I’m crazy for even suggesting this as a contender for album of the year but please read on and let me explain. Cage was always kind of shoehorned into some sort of Eminem clone / wannabe but this is far from the truth. Imagine Eminem hadn’t sold out, hooked up with Dre, started making pop tunes and instead had allowed his rhyme style to mature from the toilet humor level it has been stuck at for the last few years into a razor sharp wit that can also be darkly serious and political too and you might be coming close to what Cage has become on this album. No there aren’t many if any songs that could be played in a club without causing the whole crowd to stop dancing but what there is are some heavy track with dope production.

On this release Cage gives you a very deep insight into his life and to be frank it’s a dark place to be, but he tells his stories with a lyrical eloquence that isn’t too far off the likes of Gza. In the past some of his rhymes could be placed in the dodgy drug abuse category that Eminem often falls into but on this release he goes beyond them and actually explains how he got himself into a situation where that was his life. He explains some of the reasons for his messed up past on the Blockhead produced “Too Heavy for Cherubs” where he goes into his Father’s drug abuse over a dope track that sounds similar to some of Blockheads better Aesop rock tracks. On “Stripes” he details his Father’s dishonorable dismissal from the Army over another Blockhead produced banger, you’re starting to get the picture that Cage never had the best of upbringings. Cage hasn’t changed his style, he’s still incredibly vivid in a dark way but the material has changed, matured if you will.

His airs his views on Bush and his war on Terror on the DJ Shadow produced “Grand Ol Party Crash”. This tune shows us that not only is Cage a dope lyricist but that he also has a political side that he expresses with razor sharp rhymes over dark electronic beat with a heavy snare running through it and some dude doing a funny impression of Dubya. On the El-P produced title track we have Cage flowing over an electric guitar loop and organ riff with the type of beats we’ve come to love from El-P. Cage spits “I’m trying to pick up the pieces, keep cutting my hands when I put them back together they’re feces.” showing his frustration at life.

There are too many other dope tracks to go into on this LP and Cage spits hot **** on all of them. “Left it to us,” featuring El-P, Aesop Rock, Tame One, and Yak Ballz, is easily one of the best Def Jux posse cuts so far. All the producers on this album pull together to create a cohesive album that flows from one joint to the next, which is something, which albums with more than three or four producers often get wrong. El-p drops some of his best production so far, Blockhead performs well, Shadow drops a dope joint in fact the only slightly disappointing joint is the RJD2 produced Shoot Frank but even then Cage still drops dope ****. This is a dope album, easily in my top five of the year maybe even the tope three. Okay there’s no “Party Tunes” on it but when the beats and lyrics are this dope does the absence of a party track really matter. This album is dope and I would recommend it to any self-respecting hip-hop fan.

High Ryderz
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