Most pairings of rap and rock seem like lofty experiments gone bad. On Depart From Me, New York City's Cage proves otherwise as he delivers an intensely private journey into his sordid past over some seriously rockin' beats.
Much like his previous album Hell's Winter, Cage (aka Chris Palko) lays himself bare for all to see with cleverly laced rhymes that dissect his past battles with drug addiction, depression and other maladies. It's a dark ride, but it also explores how he's working to actualize a better life for himself. Some of the best cuts, though, are also the most morose, like "I Found My Mind In Connecticut," which pairs a haunting beat with lines like "What if Ian Curtis were to climb down from the noose?/That's what I thought, that dangled from my neck in amazement/Struggled, undo hangin' myself in my own basement."
He contrasts gloomy introspection with amusing tracks like "Fat Kids Need An Anthem," where he self-deprecatingly raps about when he was overweight.
A handful of poppier tracks take a few listens to really grow on you. But overall, Depart From Me skillfully illustrates the density and ingenuity of Cage's lyrical smarts.
Cage plays the Palace Sun., Nov. 29, at 9 PM with Slopstar and Acher. $8.