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Man, if you think Eminem had a rough upbringing, check out the backstory of Chris Palko, better known as rapper Cage: Born to a heroin-addicted Army father who made his young son help him shoot up, until he was arrested for threatening the family with a shotgun when Cage was 8. Teen years filled with serious drug addiction and crime, for which he spent 18 months at a psychiatric hospital, where he became a guinea pig for the then-untested Prozac, which resulted in several suicide attempts. Sabotaged his burgeoning rap career on Columbia Records -- where he landed after developing professional and personal bonds with Pete Nice, El-P, and the future MF Doom -- because of that unshakable drug habit. . . . If they ever made a movie out of Cage's life story, it'd make 8 Mile look like Chicken Little. Much of that drama, as you might imagine, finds its way into Cage's unsettling Def Jux debut, Hell's Winter, which pairs the rapper's gripping, venomous flow with crackling beats and gritty textures courtesy of El-P, Blockhead, DJ Shadow, and Yo La Tengo bassist James McNew. Anyone who thinks hip-hop is devoid of intensity these days needs to be at this show.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.