Camu Tao, the acclaimed rapper and producer whose resume included collaborations with the likes of RJD2, Aesop Rock, Cage, and El-P, tragically passed away from lung cancer on May 25, 2008. Two years after his death, Fat Possum Records and Definitive Jux will celebrate his legacy with the release of his first and only solo album.
King of Hearts was originally scheduled for release in 2008, but left incomplete in the wake of his cancer diagnosis. The release has since been completed, pieced together from the demos and home recordings he left behind. And the end result, according to longtime friend and collaborator El-P, is a record that is “amazing, weird, raw, and original.”
“In many ways King of Hearts is a record of what could have been, a snapshot of an artist mid-evolution. In some ways it’s a diary discovered in the belongings of a friend who passed away. Or maybe it’s a scrap book of a master inventor with only half of the schematics of some incredible new invention detailed inside. You don’t need to see the invention fully realized in order to recognize the magnitude of the creative force behind the sketches,” explains El-P.
In an issued press releases adds: “The record marks a departure from his former works, most notably as it finds Camu favoring a distinctively playful, semi-soul croon as well as the off-kilter and wild rapping that earned him a reputation among peers and fans as an innovative genius. Musically King of Hearts delves into realms of gritty, electropunk pop, alternately veering between the dark carnival-esque and the sublimely summery. Pleasantly disorienting electronic tones cascade and pulse as dense, propulsive beats build a solid foundation upon which Tao constructs immensely hooky and infectious choruses.”
King of Hearts will be available on August 17th. In conjunction with its release, Definitive Jux will also be issuing the long unreleased 2004 debut from Central Services, a production crew and side project between Tao and El-P. The effort, titled Forever Frozen in Television Time, will be available as a free download.
As an early preview, we’ve included a stream of King of Hearts track “Perfect Plan” below.