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Deranged Rap Night w/ Cage, Yak Ballz @ GAMH, 7/17/09

July 19, 2009

It’s Definitive Jux night at GAMH- one of the only hip hop labels that I can call myself a fan of anymore. Home to El-P, Def Jux is the stomping grounds for rappers still interested in the art of their craft- fast rhymes, killer beats, and edgy messages- not the bling and the bimbos and the brands.

Yak Ballz is onstage when I entered my favorite venue. The crowd, albeit small, was jamming along to the point where I wondered why I hadn’t heard of this guy before. So I’m not a fan of his name, but he was pretty good. Hailing from Queens, this Persian MC paced the stage delivering his rhymes with sci-fi overtones. Album sold!


Though Cage is joined by a ‘guitarist’, it wasn’t long between sets. Cage, also known as Chris Palko, occupies a space in the hip hop spectrum somewhere between Eminem and Mickey Avalon. He’s had a truly fucked up life, which you may be able to see soon as it is rumored that Shia La Beouf will play him in a biopic on Cage’s life.

Cage demands that it be darker in there- it’s already very dark, which is why you don’t see any pictures here. The crowd is a bit mellow, which could be from a combo of the dark room, the slower nature of his songs, or perhaps its the content of the songs. I like my guys a little crazy… well Cage is a lot crazy. Like as in he introduced one song like this: “This is a dancing song. I remember my prom…oh wait, I wasn’t at prom, I was strapped to a bed at Stony Lodge”. And you know it’s a true story and you’re like, ‘whoa’. Kinda hard to put your hands up in the air to that. Just take a look at this video (directed by Shia…guess he’s a fan).

Crazy face. It was too dark in there to really see it, though, which is a shame because he’s pretty easy on the eyes. He stage dove/fell into the audience three times, and spoke quite a bit even though we were a little quiet.

The main drawback of this show for me was the fact that it was being filmed. The videographer was on stage, often blocking my line of site, for the entire time. I find it incredibly distracting every time I encounter this at a show.

The album sounds really good live- highlights for me were “I Found My Mind in Connecticut”, “I Never Knew You”, and “Hell Oh”. Cage is what rap is supposed to be like. No matter how rock and metal I get, I’ll never leave behind that part of me who craves a really good head bobbing rap track.

The set was dark both figuratively and literally, leaving me kind of disturbed when I left the show. Good thing I encountered some tranny hookers by my car to lighten my mood.

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