Wild Style Wednesday Review: Cage, Hell’s Winter

Hells WinterHell’s Winter might be one of the best label debuts I’ve ever heard. Hell’s Winter is Cage’s sophomore album, and it saw him coming into a different light than Movies For The Blind, and all I can say is that this album is really fucking impressive. Cage rhymes about some of the most insane shit that I’ve ever heard, but the crazy part is that he has actually lived most of it.  Def Jux as a label has put out a lot of really good material, but this album might be the best. This album makes for one hell of a violently vicious view inside of Cage’s mind.

The album starts out with the track “Good Morning“, which may be one of my favorite opening tracks to an album ever. Cage flows heavily over El-P’s hard hitting beat about the city of New York, “Homeless cardboard cribs, cops shoot civilians/vendors, rap stars, Wall Street billions” and, ” I knocked up Jux, they had a monster I’m TV on the street/in the cabbage patch with premies on my feet”. The song “Too Heavy For Cherubs” has Cage reliving his nightmare of helping his father shoot heroin when he was a little kid, with a narration so real that you may feel like you are the one tying off. Rjd2 lends his hand to the production side of the album on the track “Shoot Frank” which has Cage and Darryl Palumbo (of Glassjaw) lending their vocals over Rj’s madly melodic piano and moaning vocal samples. “Shoot Frank” is a very impressive track, and one of the best songs on this album. “Left It To Us” is a great example of how good the Weathermen are when they all form together like Megatron. Every emcee on this track completely blacks out  and leaves the guitar looped beat by Camu Tao destroyed.

The title track, “Hell’s Winter“, however might be the defining moment of the entire album. On “Hell’s Winter” Cage sounds more hungry than a pitbull staring at a t-bone steak. He starts off, “There’s somethin’ in the way, not for Doctor Zoomer/Hocked a tumor in a lugee and left it in Montezuma/Swam back to the US after Russian Rulette/No deal on the table, give me a label to suplex”. He also raps about his hardships in the mental hospital, “Prozac Guinea Pig, I don’t feel bi-polar/but got a folder that claims I am in a stack that reaches my shoulder”.

This album is great example of an Indie Hip-Hop classic. Even though there are some areas on the album where Cage tends to let his mind wander, they don’t affect the overall feel of this album. Cage has been through a lot of crazy shit, but as he said on Movies For the Blind, “This shit’s like college for my fuckin’ rap career”, and it shows that he puts his past to good use. This might be one of the strongest sophomore outings you are likely to hear, the lyrics are top notch and the production is just as good, or better. If you haven’t please check out this album!

9.3 Perscription Prozac Pills out of 10


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