Recordings: Cage – Hell’s Winter

If you’ve even heard of Cage, you might know him as the white guy with the high-pitched voice and violent rhymes who isn’t named Marshall. Cage, however, has been in the game since 1993, and previous albums such as Movies for the Blind have built quite an underground cult following for the storytelling MC.

Cage – Hell’s Winter

On Hell’s Winter, Cage strays from his usual style and releases a more introspective album, allowing the listener to see the inner workings of this eccentric artist. Cage reveals that his father was a drug addict, and his stories on “Too Heavy For Cherubs” and “Stripes” make Eminem’s mother from “Cleanin’ Out My Closet” seem like a responsible parent. Cage’s aggression extends far beyond his nuclear family on tracks like “Grand ‘ol Party Crash,” a five-minute-long, DJ Shadow-produced diss on G-Dub and his administration, and “Scenester,” an attack on self-absorbed females who are “the model type but never becomes a model.”

Cage is truly one of the better storytellers on the mic, but if that isn’t enough, the production on Hell’s Winter provides some of the more original and unique musical compositions seen in recent hip-hop. RJD2, El-P and Blockhead all make outstanding contributions, creating an album with great diversity, yet maintaining a cohesive, haunting tone throughout due to Cage’s powerful, emotional narration.