If you follow Cage’s back story, you might notice he’s been on a bit of an upswing. His last album via Def Jux was critically acclaimed and attracted fans as diverse as Shia LeBouf. This may or may not be a bad thing, clearly LaBouf has the power to do anything he wants at the moment, be it Transformers or its sequels or directing and starring in music videos for Cage. Any time a rapper gets some new found power, he seems to decide to switch up his style from what made him big in the first place. Cage reaches even further out to rock leanings on his new album that make you wonder if he’s working on making an album or making something “Big.”
If this album sounds like anything within the hip-hop realm, it’s that remix album that Linkin Park and Jay-Z collaborated on. While that album certainly did numbers between both fanbases, it wasn’t exactly either artist’s best record. Depart From Me starts off innocuously enough, almost taking off where Hell’s Winter left off. “Nothing Left to Say” is a slower tempo track that slowly melds into drums and cutting synths, Cage sounds right at home as the track kicks into high gear. Then the album takes a turn at the disturbing “Beat Kids”, with a hard drone riff without much else to accompany it.
Producer Sean Martin sounds perfectly made to underscore a teen’s descent into drugs on a bad WB drama – and while that might get Cage paid – it’s not worth it for the longtime listener. He spends close to a third of the album trading his traditional rhyme style for more rocked out vocals, and it does not play to his strengths. The hardest hitting tracks are usually the shortest, with “I Lost it in Haverton” clocking at a criminally short 1:32. Followed by “Teenage Hands” and “Eating It’s Way Out of Me”, the album hits a small stride, but unfortunately doesn’t last long enough.
After this brief highlight he shifts back into Warped Tour mode with “Captain Burnout”, the album’s most intolerable track of the bunch. He comes back and saves the album with “Look At What You Did”, “Depart From Me” and “I Never Knew You”. While these tracks have their share of emo moments, they sound alright, but that might just be by comparison.
“Depart from Me” is a perfect example of the good and bad on this album. The beat is a dark synth attack that Cage sounds at home on, until he starts to croon the chorus. It throws the track off and is simply unnecessary. Take about 5 of the better tracks and you might have a decent EP offering from Cage, but in all, longtime fans will be thrown too far left.
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