August 23, 2010

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King of Hearts is the unfinished album left behind by deceased Def Jux artist, Camu Tao. It’s sprawling and messy–it toys with about a half-dozen genres and songs range from fragments to polished gems. It’s often half-baked, it’s often great, it’s everything but boring. I wrestle with it over at Pop & Hiss, with more coherence than my crashing brain can currently muster at the moment.

While it’s not the hoped-for posthumous masterpiece, it has enough flashes of genius to prove that Camu was onto something. I’m not sure what exactly that something was and we’ll never know. But it’s nice that this album exists to punctuate his career with an ellipses, rather than a question mark. Chauncey CC made a Best of Camu mixtape (posted below) and it’s great–a more well-reasoned proof that validates why the Def Jux guys still speak in awe of his musical gifts. El-P claimed Camu was exponentially more talented than him, and the man who wrote “Linda Tripp” is not prone to dole out praise lavishly.

The tunes below range from El and Camu’s Central Services Record, to a few leaks from King of Hearts, to the Best of Camu tape. Amounted together, they reflect the work of a visionary who never had the chance to execute his vision. Anyone who saw Camu on-stage understood what I’m talking about, and if you didn’t, he left behind enough to warrant this post, and perhaps a fraction of the attention allotted to dead rappers. They’re supposed to get better promotion, but this one hasn’t. My point is that the imbalance deserves to be corrected. –Weiss

Download:
MP3: Camu Tao-“Be a Big Girl”
MP3: Camu Tao-“Plot a Little”

ZIP: Camu Tao-Best of Camu Tao Mixtape
ZIP: Central Services (Camu Tao & El-P) -Forever Frozen in Television Time