After Cage was released from the Stony Lodge psychiatric hospital at the age of eighteen, he began pursueing a career as a rapper. Naming himself “Alex”, after the protagonist of Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange, he hired a manager and recorded a demo. He was then introduced to Pete Nice of 3rd Bass, and ended up being featured his 1993 album Dust to Dust. Pete Nice also introduced him to radio personality Bobbito GarcÃa, who featured Cage on his program several times, increasing his reputation amongst New York’s underground Hip Hop scene. Cage signed with Columbia Records, but frequently recorded while intoxicated, and the label found his efforts to be unsatisfactory. His career was put on hold and the drug use increased.
When GarcÃa founded Fondle ‘Em Records, he offered Cage a record deal, and the label soon dropped the “Radiohead” single featuring the infamous B-side “Agent Orange” in 1997 to success and acclaim. Following the release of The Slim Shady EP, Cage accused Eminem of imitating his style. After several more singles with Fondle ‘Em, Cage met Mr. Eon and DJ Mighty Mi of High and Mighty, and the trio formed the group Smut Peddlers, releasing the album Porn Again on Rawkus Records in 2001.
They say making music has therapeutic value, and for the volatile Cage’s sake, one hopes it’s true. On his full-length solo debut from 2002, Movies for the Blind, the German-born MC comes out firing, calling out MTV and Eminem on “Escape to ’88,” before moving onto “In Stony Lodge,” where he seethes about the institution he spent 16 months in as a teenager, and “The Soundtrack,” where he fantasizes about killing the stepfather who put him there. The intensity never lets up, and Movies for the Blind is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Most of the songs here are built around fantasy, and Cage’s fantasies tend to be dark and angry, revolving around sex, violence, and substance abuse. Unquestionably harsh, the lyrics are rarely boring. Cage is a versatile, often compelling, MC, and on some tracks he’s absolutely brilliant, wedding his palpable rage and accomplished lyricism to heady abstraction. With some of underground Hip Hop’s finest manning the boards, DJ Mighty Mi, RJD2, Necro and J-Zone, the beats are never in question. The team of producers lays down a diverse blend of styles that matches Cage’s bizarre, brooding vocals from beginning to end.
Cage’s third album, Depart from Me, was just recently released on Definitive Jux. The first music video from the album, “I Never Knew You”, debuted on May 18, 2009. The video was directed by Transformers star Shia LaBeouf, and features featured cameos from LaBeouf, Alex Pardee, and Definitive Jux artists such as El-P, Aesop Rock, Chauncey, F. Sean Martin and Yak Ballz. In an in interview for Vanity Fair, LaBeouf expressed interest in starring as Cage in a possible film biography. Spin later reported that the film would be going into production in the near future.