Rap · Indie · Hip-hop · Experimental · Electronic
he tortured and visceral lyrics of underground rapper Cage (Chris Palko) come from a life of pain, paranoia, hard drugs, and hard living. His father was busted for selling and using heroin, going as far as to have the young Cage tighten the tourniquet around his arm. A standoff with the state police after threatening his family with a shotgun. While in high school, Cage went home to a physically abusive stepfather. Drugs became a serious problem for the teen, leading to expulsion from school, getting kicked out of the house, and various arrests for various crimes. Facing serious jail time, Cage’s mother convinced the judge to send her son to a mental institution instead of jail. Sentenced to 18 months in the Stony Lodge Psychiatric Hospital, his depression deepened and suicide attempts led to solitary confinement. It was there that Cage had nothing to do but write his thoughts on paper. Released from “the Lodge” and confident with his writing skills, Cage began practicing his rap and eventually cut a demo. Appearances on DJ Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia’s legendary N.Y.C. radio show got his name out and lead to friendships with the KMD crew, the late Subroc, Pharoahe Monch, and producer El-P Cage recorded three successful underground 12″s for the Bobbito’s Fondel Em label , including the revered “Agent Orange.” He then formed the Smut Peddlers with Mr. Eon and producer Mighty Mi. The group was signed to the hot underground label Rawkus in 2001 and released the album Porn Again that same year. Going solo again, Cage signed with the Eastern Conference label and released his full-length solo debut. The album was well received by critics and underground hip-hop fans. A year later he formed the superstar group the Weathermen with Camu Tao, El-P, Aesop Rock, Yak Ballz, Tame One, Breeze, and Vast Aire. Cage decided he needed to be more open in his writing and stop playing a character. While his new writing style was no less blunt or shocking, it was more genuine, something longtime friend and associate El-P noticed and began to champion. Cage and El-P began work on his next album, enlisting the help of RJD2, Camu Tao, DJ Shadow, Jello Biafra, and Yo La Tengo member James McNew. The album, Hell’s Winter, was released by Definitive Jux in 2005. The occasionally bracing Depart from Me, an album with an even nastier sonic disposition, followed nearly four years later.
In 2013 Cage released Kill the Architect, returning to Eastern Conference Records and his partnership with DJ Might MI for the project.
Cage has toured relentlessly over the last 2 years, most recently as direct support to Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson on The End Times Tour this past July and is in the process of finishing 2 albums