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Birth name Chris Palko
Origin New York City, United States
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper
Years active 1988—present
Labels Columbia Records (1990s)
Fondle 'Em Records (1997—2002)
Eastern Conference Records (2002—2004)
Definitive Jux (2005—present)
Associated acts The Weathermen
Leak Bros.Nighthawks

Chris Palko, better known by his stage name Cage, is an American rapper from New York City. He has released three studio albums and two extended plays. Cage is also the founder of the underground hip-hop supergroup called the Weathermen.



Early life

Palko was born in Würzburg, Germany to American parents. His father, Bill Murray, was stationed on a West German military base as a member of the military police.[1] Palko lived there until the age of four when Murray was dishonorably discharged for selling and using heroin, and the family was sent back to the United States where they lived in Middletown, New York. Murray would often force Palko to pull homemade tourniquets around his arm as he injected heroin. At the age of eight, Palko's father was arrested during a standoff with state troopers after threatening his family with a shotgun.[2][3] By the time Palko was kicked out of high school, his mother had remarried twice, and he was beaten by his stepfather. Palko began using LSD, mescaline, cannabis and alcohol, and was sent to live with his uncle on a German military base, where he was beaten and sent home after a year.

Palko was arrested several times for drug possession and fighting in the streets. When he faced jail time for violating probation, his mother convinced the judge that he was mentally unstable, and he was sent to the Stoney Lodge psychiatric hospital for a two week evaluation. He eventually ended up staying in the hospital for eighteen months, where he was a part of a small group used to test fluoxetine.[3][4] After being misdiagnosed and placed on the drug, he became suicidal and made several attempts to kill himself, including hanging himself with his shoelaces and saving his lithium dose for a month before ingesting all of them at once.[2][3] He was illegally restrained over twenty times for periods of up to thirteen hours at a time by straitjacket and ten point bed restraints.[1][3]

Early career

When Palko was released at the age of eighteen, he pursued a career as a rapper, naming himself "Alex", after the protagonist of Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange.[1] After hiring a manager and recording a demo, he was introduced to rapper Pete Nice, and Cage was featured on the 1993 album Dust to Dust. Pete Nice also introduced Palko to radio personality Bobbito García, who featured Palko on his program several times, increasing his reputation amongst New York's underground hip hop scene, where he became associated with KMD, Kurious Jorge, K-Solo, Godfather Don, Necro, Artifacts, Pharoahe Monch and El-P. Palko signed with Columbia Records, but frequently recorded while intoxicated, and the label found his efforts to be unsatisfactory.[2] Palko briefly put his career on hold and his drug use increased.[3]

When García founded the label Fondle 'Em Records, he offered Palko a record deal, and Cage released a single featuring the songs "Radiohead" and "Agent Orange" in 1997 to success and acclaim.[1] Following the release of The Slim Shady EP, Palko accused Eminem of imitating his style.[5][6] After several more singles with Fondle 'Em, Palko met Mr. Eon and DJ Mighty Mi of The High & Mighty, and the trio formed the group Smut Peddlers, releasing the album Porn Again on Rawkus Records. The album peaked at #10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, #43 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and #184 on the Billboard 200, while its single "That Smut" peaked at #9 on the Hot Rap Singles chart and #96 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.[7]

Eastern Conference, Definitive Jux

Palko signed with Eastern Conference Records, releasing his debut album, Movies for the Blind, on August 6, 2002. It peaked at #12 on the Heatseekers chart, #14 on the Top Independent Albums chart, #58 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and #193 on the Billboard 200.[8] Palko later stated that the album "sort of glorified drugs" and that he felt the album was "crazy for the sake of being crazy [...] [It] was just kind of an angsty, bullshit record. A few songs on there I liked, and I had a few things to say that were fragmented in there within a lot of randomness". However, in an interview with shabooty he retracted this statement saying "the majority of the songs I’ve made -pre-getting off of angel dust, I hate, because ya know people take it the wrong way like they think, oh ya hate all of your old music – it’s like no, I hate it because those takes are horrible. I hate it because I was on drugs, I went in the studio and I was like one take I got this and ya know, then of course years later, I hear it and it’s like oh my god, I can’t believe I didn’t redo that, oh my god, that sounds terrible, that hook sucks – so, I was just being critical, not that I just have this affinity of shitting on everything that I did prior to getting off hardcore drugs."[9] During this period, Palko formed the group The Weathermen, named after the left-wing political organization.[4] The group released their debut album, "The Conspiracy" on June 3, 2003 before Palko left Eastern Conference over alleged non-payment.[3] An extended play, Weatherproof, was released on July 29, 2003.

Because Palko felt that he should no longer play a character, he began to take on a more open writing style,[3] and signed with Definitive Jux, where he released his second studio album, Hell's Winter on September 20, 2005. Palko is quoted as saying "I make progressive rap, it's as simple as that. [...] I don't live for drugs anymore, I don't support them, and I'm not about to make a million songs about them anymore."[9] Hell's Winter peaked at #26 on the Top Heatseekers chart and at #36 on the Top Independent Albums chart.[10] In an in interview with actor Shia LaBeouf for Vanity Fair, LaBeouf expressed interest in starring as Palko in a possible film biography.[11] On November 30, 2007, Spin reported that the film would go into production.[12]



  1. ^ a b c d "Biography of Cage". Definitive Jux. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  2. ^ a b c Goldberg, Michael Alan (November 24, 2005). "Cage: Plenty to rap about". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Jeffries, David. "Biography of Cage". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  4. ^ a b Spence D. (June 13, 2003). "Rage In The Cage". IGN. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  5. ^ Drumming, Neil (February 14, 2001). "Smut Peddlers: Split-Level Raunch". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  6. ^ Dearborn, Matt; Duke (December 1, 2005). "Interview: His name is not Slim Shady". University Wire. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  7. ^ "Charts and awards for Porn Again". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  8. ^ "Charts and awards for Movies for the Blind". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  9. ^ a b Morris, David (February 6, 2006). "To Hell and Back: An Interview with Cage". PopMatters. Retrieved 2008-06-27.  
  10. ^ "Charts and awards for Hell's Winter". Allmusic. Retrieved 2008-09-09.  
  11. ^ Hogan, Michael (August 2007). "The New Kid: Can Hollywood turn 21-year-old Shia LaBeouf into the next Tom Hanks?". Vanity Fair. ISSN 07553541. Retrieved 2008-06-27.  
  12. ^ Faraone, Chris (November 30, 2007). "Shia LaBeouf: Horror-Core MC? Transformers star hopes to play indie rapper Cage in biopic.". Spin. Retrieved 2008-06-27.  

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