Review: Camu Tao, King Of Hearts

Listening to Camu Tao's King of Hearts is like witnessing to the scattered musings and fractional tinkerings of an eccentric scientist possibly on the verge of a monumental breakthrough.

It's raw. It's unpolished. It's unedited. And more than anything else, it's unfortunate.

Two years following Camu's submission to lung cancer -- and a subsequently perplexing amount of label infighting -- Definitive Jux finally released the emcee/producer/singer's still in progress solo material posthumously. Rather than cleaning up his would be nationally distributed debut album, filling in what the Columbus, Ohio artist was unable to complete, the decision was made to present King Of Hearts to the public exactly the way Camu left it.

Consisting largely of Indie Rock and Rap hybrids with infused Punk interpolations and the occasional Prince and Elvis Costello channeling, the project is a stark contrast from the gritty boom-bappery of his previous work with MHz or Nighthawks or The Weathermen. As the story goes, Camu grew frustrated with the creative complacency ensnaring the underground Hip Hop scene and attempted to push past the margins. The result is something that vaguely resembles what's deemed Hip Hop, yet speaks volumes to the mind state and artistic range of a man who knew his days were numbered long before he shared his condition with the rest of the world.


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