At one point, Cage was a rival of and frequently compared to Eminem
, for the exact reason that they were both white rappers. Never mind that Eminem was largely influenced by other Midwest rappers (like Esham
) and Cage was largely influenced by East Coast rappers. Also, Vanilla Ice
, the Beastie Boys
, House of Pain
, Marky Mark and a third of 3rd Bass
white rappers. The two albums Cage and Eminem released a couple of years back should set straight those who think that either is an imitator of each other. Eminem's Relapse
was a regression to being a one-man Insane Clown Posse
, without the facepaint and "***ing magnets". Whereas, Cage's Depart from Me
is one of the most personal, soul-searching albums in the history of rap. It's also a lot more musically creative, though not particularly "fun".
(The main contrast between Eminem and Cage is, Eminem lived in the ghetto and was strongly influenced by gangsta rap, and Cage is thoroughly suburban, and even got dismissed as "another wigger" early on in his career by famed producer Rick Rubin, before Cage's lyrics got more personal.)
On Depart from Me
, Cage doesn't relapse, he moves forward. There's very little of the fantasy aspect that made his debut, Movies for the Blind
, a cult hit. His former addictions are explored, as is the death of his friend, rapper Camu Tao, who had been involved with Depart from Me
early in its production, producing a track for the album's companion EP, I Never Knew You
. Cage also abstains from the political-themed content he discussed on Hell's Winter
, instead aiming to focus on more down to earth lyrical themes. The sentiment on tracks like "Teenage Hands", which talks about dating a teenage girl, and "Fat Kids Need An Anthem", about being overweight, is genuine.
Cage's ability as a storyteller and
rapper hasn't degenerated in the least bit, discussing how a woman feels when she's raped and unable to tell another in "Beat Kids", murder on "Look at What You Did" and stalking (but also murder, too) on "I Never Knew You". The music here is also a highlight, as perhaps the strongest LP-length fusion of rap and rock in years, partly owing to the fact that Cage, El-P and guitarist F. Sean Martin of the band Hatebreed
were listening to Nine Inch Nails
and punk bands, not other hip-hop/rock fusions.
Cage also offers a more personal aspect to the album that is unseen in the majority of such fusions that unfortunately got this album labeled as "emo rap". As if musicians did not write unhappy songs before there was ever such a thing as "emo" (were Pink Floyd
emo?), or if disgust, the main emotion expressed throughout much of the songs here, was "emo". Depart from Me
does not represent an "emo" content, but rather Cage's growth and depth as an artist. A better description would be progressive
hip-hop, which more aptly describes the dark, atmospheric music that backs Cage's lyrics.