Review Summary: Movies for the Blind is a great and disturbing effort from one of Modern Hip-Hop's best artists.
Horrorcore is a love it or hate it genre in the world of Rap music. Sometimes it comes off as cheesy, overtly dependent on the gory, misogynistic lyrics it’s known for and a lot of bad rapping i.e. Insane Clown Posse, Necro, Etc. At other times it can be damn fun and have decent rapping as well as good lyrics. Among a small pile of those good artists lies Chris Palko A.K.A. Cage, the original Horrorcore rapper. Having begun his career as far back as 1988 freestyling on the radio, he has come far. Signing to Def Jux, releasing two near-classic albums and one average album, freestyling on radio shows and dissing big name rappers, Cage has made a lot of accomplishments in his long career. One of his biggest career points, the Necro-produced Agent Orange
, appeared on wax as well as the modern day Horrorcore classic Movies For the Blind
. Movies for the Blind saw Cage in a position to do whatever he wanted, landing him on Billboard and all. With Movies, Cage saw himself becoming more and more enamored with shocking lyrics and dark, varied beats. If I haven’t convinced you already of how great this album is, then read on.
Cage has always proven himself on the mic, with a flow that naturally matches any beat he’s put on. A good example of his solid, paced flow is on Escape To 88
, where he flows smoothly over a start-stop, Rock-based production where he lays down lyrics about shooting Heroin, killing people, sex, etc. Cage just naturally matches any beat he’s put on, whether it’s the funky, humorous stylings of J-Zone on In Stoney Lodge
or the haunting, ambient sounds of the aforementioned Agent Orange
. Cage is a decent lyricist for a Horrorcore rapper, laying down rhymes about his fairly ***ed personal life, disturbing sex scenes, extreme violence and even more so than the others, drugs. PCP, Heroin, Cocaine, Meth, Wormwood all get a mention on here with Cage dropping sickly, disturbing lyrics. If this doesn’t give you the creeps, I don’t know what will. Funny thing is, Cage makes his lyrics sound so relaxing with his slurred voice that you’d only get it if you paid attention to what was going on in his songs. Basically, Cage is one disturbed emcee and should be feared and treated as such.
The production laid down on Movies for the Blind is absolutely brilliant. There’s a lot of ground covered here, from psychedelic, warbling bass lines to Rock-and-Metal based beats, and even some funky Dre-style production. Occasionally you get sounds of haunting ambience and menacing, orchestral music with the frequent use of samples and such. An expert team of producers were hired here, from unknowns Dj Mighty Mi and Camu Tao to excellent beat-makers EL-P, J-Zone, and Necro. Each and every producer featured on Movies gets to showcase their signature style while never over shadowing the main focus of the record. These beats may not be the best material they’ve put out, but they’re of a quality that blends in perfectly with the rapper instead of trying to one up the featured emcee.
Movies for the Blind is not exactly the most consistent record. While I praised it for the varied sounds and excellent lyricism, it never maintains a specific sound and the mixing process could’ve made the record cleaner-sounding. It never shows the focused, streamlined sound on later Cage albums such as Hell’s Winter and Depart From Me. If anything, this debut effort from Cage should show his astounding rapping abilities, not his abilities to pigeonhole his sound. Movies for the Blind is a fantastic debut effort that should be checked out by fans of early Eminem, Horrorcore, or just rap in general. 4/5