Cage – Kill The Architect

Cage Kill The ArchitectCage – Kill The Architect
Eastern Conference Records: 2013

It is unnecessary to reiterate that Chris Palko (Cage) has endured a life rifled with horrific predicaments. His previous effort, Depart from Me, was considered a horrific predicament in the eyes of many disgruntled supporters who shuddered at his new sonic direction and longed for the basement-hidden snuff tape nostalgia of old. It Is in the interest of full disclosure that I reveal I am probably one of the only people you know who genuinely enjoyed Depart from Me; if this serves as a baseline, Kill the Architect is an unclear step in an uncertain direction as Cage drones on in a worn-out grumble that suggests he is sick of it all in a really bad way.

Cage’s tyrannical post in the rap underworld has served us well, and his reunion with DJ Mighty Mi would suggest a return to Eastern Conference mid-season form where the limbs stack upon the page and all nearby veins are infected unmercifully by the drugged-out psychopath we love. The reality we confront here is far more flaccid and bland than imagined; Cage stumbles through 14 tracks worth of dreary soundscapes and manages to sound unmotivated on every effort.  Where Cage manages to channel his depressed notions into anthemic redemption on the Hell’s Winter of yesteryear, Kill the Architect only sounds depressed and delivers a truly boring effort in establishing or even reinforcing the decade-plus-old narrative of piecing oneself back together and coping with the demons that remain.

“Lamb of Nothing” starts with an attempt to reinforce that the evil is still at work, only to dash its own hopes with the refrain of “Took a dump last night, now I’m on some next shit/ Fucked a girl last night, she might’ve been infected”. By the time we get to “The Hunt”, it becomes evident that the ol’ shoulder-nudging shock value is too dull and unoriginal to register a gasp like “Most people don’t follow their dreams and they feel fine/ It’s probably why I don’t; I stalk, rape, and kill mine”. (At press time, no Reebok sponsorships were lost in the making of that line.)

There are scores of examples of Cage’s recycled horror tropes sneaking their way into the eardrums, but not shouting loud enough for them to bleed. There’s evil Kool Aid, prostitutes, pedophilia, God and all his inverted crosses, peyote, cocaine, cannibalism, and several lobotomies; none of the aforementioned stand alone to bring the listener to the slightest trigger. By the time we get to “They Suck”, Cage sounds more like a weathered veteran than a grizzled one. A wise man once said: “They suck your dick… even though they really hate you”. This incites the symbolic stage dive off the independent pedestal Cage effectively places himself on, lending a note unfortunate and dated bitterness at everyone instead of himself for churning out such an inconsistent performance.

Despite the horrible tidbits one can easily cherry-pick over 42 minutes, Mighty Mi’s trip-hop-esque grooves crawl along in a hazy sludge that meets the vocal monotony halfway and gives the album many opportunities to be greater than the sum. “The Hunt” provides an amazing sliver of chaos that outshines its subject matter, and “Precipiss” provides one of the brightest spots on the album with an ominous twinkle of a piano juxtaposed with fresh jihad and an above-average second verse that stands out in the wreckage (“If the son of God jumped out of the cunt of Madonna/ I would stab Dave Grohl in the face to get to Nirvana”). Like Depart from Me, you will either find something to love or a lot to dismiss about the boards; I found myself more dismissive as some of Mighty Mi’s efforts fall by the wayside of cheesy or forgettable.

A sufficient Cliffsnote to Kill the Architect comes from Cage himself: “No one invented me/ I made my overdose an art form / Suck my dick if I’ve offended thee.” In a state of hip-hop that’s post-MCHG and post-MMLP2, there is a current wave of watching our legends fall before our eyes. It is easy to call this album the cherry atop the suicide note for our beloved Smut Peddler who craved new ground at the expense of the familiar. Maybe we’ve seen the movie one too many times and memorized every scare in the script (which isn’t all Cage’s fault). I’m not one for calling for remakes of eras and personas that will never return, but if there’s any hope to reclaim the crown of thorns he once clutched with calloused hands, he can never release another album that makes us as bored as he sounds or shamelessly tries to catch you with every easy jump.

2 out of 5

You can buy Kill The Architect on Amazon.

11 thoughts on “Cage – Kill The Architect

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  1. “Rifled” is not a form of “rife”. Not being a dick, just wanted to point that out.

    And btw, I too enjoyed Depart From Me. While not as good as Hell’s Winter, it was definitely a solid album in my opinion. Hell’s Winter was his tour de force, something he will most likely never top. If you look at Depart From Me on its own, I think most would agree it was a dope album.

  2. Maybe he just finds it useless to try anymore.

    Maybe he’s trying something new.

    Maybe just maybe he doesn’t care anymore

    Whatever it is his flow was still on point.
    Dope ass lyrics dude is an inspiration

  3. this is a good album, you all need to fuckin chill. THE ALBUM IS SUPPOSED TO SOUND UNENTHUSED. listen to what he is saying. He’s complaining and solemn. the album as a whole meshes perfectly


    I was a huge fan of Depart From Me and all of his other work, but this album was a huge disappointment from me.

    I am a fanboy to the point that I thought I would like anything Palko could produce, but I found the album uninspired and honestly terrible by Cage standards.

    He is still one of my faves but this album just sucked 🙁

    Spot on review though!

  5. Sad part is I really liked the beats honestly, Cage was just way too lazy and flat out corny to carry them over. Em might have fallen off but at least he has a dope flow to fall back on, even when his lyrics sucks there still delivered well. Cage sounds like he’s coming down on a Xanex binge and is about to pass out on every track

  6. Good review. Look forward to seeing more from you.

  7. Blackeyed Blonde|

    I thought this was a really good album overall. I feel like it accurately portrays Cage’s evolution as an artist and capsules his whole career well. I will say that some of the hooks were uninspired, and it was lacking the energy that I really wanted to hear from Cage. If you can get into the dark themes and appreciate the twisted humor you should really dig this project.

  8. vitaltwofor|

    What happened to Alex The Worm King? He needs to reunite with Necro or Mondee for some beats! Mighty Mi = EDM producer. I want my 20 minutes back after listening to this garbage!

  9. Bloodmoney Perez|

    i also loved “Depart from me” A LOT. But i also loved all of Cages other work, with the exception of Smut Peddlers (mostly cuz the cat from High & Mighty is boring). And, i was excited to see he was dropping something new, then i saw Might Mi producing, which made me nervous a little, then i streamed 3 1/2 songs from spotify and was saddened by it all. He sounds like someone woke him from sleeping and pieced together their best cage impersionations and FORCED him to rap them. This is a sad outting. I miss the Def Jux era cage..that direction was awesome.

  10. As someone who’s enjoyed all of Cage’s output I was very disappointed in this album. Blech

  11. His bars seem tired, hang up the towel cage

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