Photo of Cage by Devin Horwitz.
Cage grew up just like every other kid in New York. He was into rapping, stealing, jocking girls, and lying. Eventually the usual petty shit led to some bad luck, and the bad luck led to probation. The judge insisted that one more fuck-up would get him locked up, and Cage insisted on fucking up again. In order to keep him out of jail, Cage’s mom convinced the judge he was nuts. She worked at a mental institution herself, so the judge figured she knew what she was talking about. They threw him in Stoney Lodge for 16 months, and now that he’s free he’s got more crazy shit coming out of his mouth than Kool Keith.
VICE: Why were you institutionalized for so long?
: If your insurance company sucked, you were out in 30 days. My mother had a million-dollar policy from working for the state so I was in there for a long time. When the money ran out, then all of a sudden I was cured.
Did you get laid a lot?
Nope. There were a lot of suicidal girls who had been touched, R. Kelly-style. You’d have to sit in group and listen to these insane rape stories. I’d look at the doctor and wonder what the hell was going on behind his clipboard. He’d be like, “And then what happened, Sharon? He held you down, and then what? Tell me more.” The place was fucked up.
Could you listen to music or have possessions?
Not really. Everything you got was based on a point system. If you made your bed, you would get three points. If you were on time to the cafeteria, that was one and a half points. They would rate you on everything. Even eating, you can get one to three points. One time I was like, “How did I get a two in lunch? I didn’t talk to anyone, I ate all my food, cleared the table. How did I not get a three?” That was great how they would tell kids, “Sorry, you got a zero today. Sorry, kid—you’re a zero.” A zero couldn’t have any outside activities. A one was like a zero, except a one could get snacks. Level four was the deluxe: You could go home on weekends.
Didn’t they eventually realize you were in okay mental shape?
I came in there with no real issues. I wasn’t molested or beat. I didn’t have any severe mental problems, but they weren’t buying it. They were like, “Bullshit. Give us the real dirt. Come on, you’re holding back.” They would egg me on. I had to literally make up issues, and that was the best, like, now I’m in the hospital pretending to be really ill. That probably made me more of a psychopath than anything. They’d flip it on me, too, telling me, “Christian, draw a picture of something very violent and evil.” So I’d draw my mom with a noose, just to fuck with them. Then they’d show her and say, “See, that’s how he feels about you.” They would set me up.
You say on your album that Stoney Lodge was college for your rap career.
When I was facedown in eight-point restraints being shot up with illegal psychotropics, I began plotting my rap career. Technically, that was my first deal, in Stoney Lodge. The state spent a million dollars on me there. That became my lifestyle. When I got out I needed to get a million-dollar record deal. You know, to keep it going.
Movies for the Blind
(on Eastern Conference) is in stores now. Also look for the DVD counterpart
Soundtrack for the Deaf
out next year.