CAMU TAO: "KING OF HEARTS" (Definitive Jux/Fat Possum; August 17)
Two years ago Tero "Camu Tao" Smith died after a grueling battle with cancer. He was a friend, a son, a brother, a groom-to-be and last but not least a brilliant producer, singer, rapper and entertainer.
This summer, on August 17th, Camu Tao's first and final solo album King Of Hearts will be released on Definitive Jux in collaboration with Fat Possum. King Of Hearts is now available for pre-order on DefinitiveJux.net. When you pre-order King Of Hearts you will have the option to buy an "I Heart Camu" T-shirt. All proceeds from T-shirt sales will go directly to charity and will ship with packages the week before release date. Limited edition screen prints are available to the first 50 orders!
"King Of Hearts is essentially a collection of demos and unfinished songs Camu had created for his album. Some were recorded professionally, some were not. His sickness prevented him from finishing them all. We felt that the music, even in its raw form, was beautiful and needed to be heard. Camu needs to be heard." ~ Jaime "EL-P" Meline
FREE mp3 from King Of Hearts | "Plot A Little" Prior to his death, Camu Tao formed production crew and side project Central Services with longtime friend and collaborator El-P. The long-awaited 2005 debut EP Forever Frozen in Television Time has gone unreleased until now. In conjunction with the release of King Of Hearts, Definitive Jux is giving away Central Services' EP as a free digital download.
Download the FREE Central Services EP | click here
El-P will be in Camu Tao's hometown of Columbus, OH to host a celebration of his life and the release of King Of Hearts. This event was planned in conjunction with Camu's fiancé and is taking place on Monday, August 16th at Skullys. It is free to enter, with a $5 suggested donation. All proceeds will go to the James Cancer Hospital.
Fresh off the Forever Famicomalbum with Random, i got my next collaborative side-project in the works with The ParanormL, an emcee residing in Cali by way of Japan. The ParanormL is a very fresh and spiritually-minded lyricist who advocates positivity & preservation of the Hip-Hop arts, without coming off preachy like some tend to. He's worked with dope producers like J. Rawls and traded verses with emcees such as Canibus! I was actually put onto his music 2 years ago by a listener of my radio show, Subsoniq, and thought he be great to include on Piano-ramaso i hit him up andthe end result of that collaboration yielded...
Since "Star Seeds" we been talking about doing a side project together and so far, we are a few songs into one, BUT we need a NAME to help guide the project along. So to anyone reading this: Please post a comment with a prospective name for the album either here or over on my forum and whoever's name we ultimately choose will win a signed CD copy of the album, which should be out this fall/winter. Fair enough?
Cookbook & Uno Mas Show Their Utmost Respect For The Mic With Their Latest Single, Featuring A Living Legend
With their latest album, C&U Music Factory, still snatching up acclaim, long-time duo and LA Symphony co-founders Cookbook & Uno Mas hit us with the album's second single, "Petty". This time, the self-proclaimed fundamentalists address their discontent for the increasing emergence of hip-hop amateurs. With the help of featured emcee Scarub (of Living Legends), Cookbook & Uno Mas deliver thought-provoking rhymes, not only to discourage the amateurs, but to showcase their own talents as well. "We're proclaiming that we are still set apart from the masses due to our skill at our craft, and our musicianship," says the duo on the message behind their latest track.
Produced by Cookbook, the synth-heavy beat is accompanied by well-said verses about the group's intolerance for the "wack rhyme disease" that seems to be ever-spreading. The song is filled with proud proclamations of their musical integrity, with lines like, "We started this, and we gon' finish this/ We been a part of this real rap, no images/ Real artists, hard fact, it's limitless/ Hard flows, these foes lose their grimaces." It's clear that Cookbook & Uno Mas prefer truth to mass appeal. "We want people to dig through, and pull out these golden nuggets that exist," says the group.
"Petty" is featured on Cookbook & Uno Mas' C&U Music Factory, out now via AudioSketchBook / End Of Earth Records.
Following Release of "Concrete Jungle Juice" Video, DaVinci Releases Collaborative Non-Album Track
Critical Praise for DaVinci:
Selected as a member of 106 KMEL's (the biggest Bay Area hip-hop station) Freshmen Class of 2010.
"...The Day the Turf Stood Still feels like an attempt to do something unique within the Bay's insular world, all while retaining the new Bay's characteristic cannibalizing of different moments in rap history." - 7.6/10 Pitchfork.com
"I'm keeping DaVinci on my "artists to keep an ear on" list - he's got enough moxie and production to keep moving on his turf, rising from the merely above average to something special as long as he doesn't stand still for too long." - RapReviews.com
Coming off of a string of hit singles from his debut record, The Day The Turf Stood Still, including his freshly released video for "Concrete Jungle Juice", KMEL Freshmen 10 certified Bay Area rapper DaVinci is now releasing a newly unearthed track, "The Beginning." Recorded before the March release of his debut, the cut features Webbz and J. Rockwel, along with recent Def Jam inductee Big K.R.I.T..
"The Beginning" showcases powerfully and energetically delivered lyrics over a loose, jazzy saxophone line, the combination of which ensures the listeners' attention over the track's six-plus minutes. Unlike many collaborative tracks of this type, each emcee is given enough time to exhibit their skills, yet still leave you wanting more. For fans and followers of DaVinci, an extra special treat is in store, as the gruff-voiced rapper unleashes a double-time flow over the track. “You can get a head start / On your mark, set, go / Your heart get slow / When I rock that flow” he rhymes. From its hard-hitting verses, it is clear to see that this song marked something special, a fact that the artists must have been aware of when they gave it the wholly appropriate title "The Beginning."
The Fillmore District has bred more rappers per capita than any other district in San Francisco, and although the older generations recall its rich musical history rooted in Jazz, the Fillmore today is rife with drugs, turf wars, and mass gentrification. DaVinci, a young MC raised in the Fillmore, is a prime example of the duality of this area, who at the age of 13 was homeless, hungry, and hopeful for a way out. Explains DaVinci, "My music has everything to do with my environment: from robbing, killing, pimpin' to selling and abusing drugs," he explains about his heavy content. "It's a direct reflection of what my friends and family have been through and are still going through." While his story is similar to many other young rappers’ upbringings, DaVinci was surrounded by an incredible pool of Fillmore talent and by studying with the greats, he was able to sharpen his skills and aim higher than most, cultivating his story-telling abilities beyond mere drug-and-gun-talk. Growing up in the same 10-block radius as Bay Area rap legends San Quinn and JT the Bigga Figga, DaVinci was content in merely watching the next generation follow in their footsteps, until he received overwhelming praise from his peers from a mixtape appearance, which then prompted him to pursue rap professionally. In 2006, San Quinn welcomed him onto the "Pressure Makes Diamonds Tour" with rap veterans Xzibit and Tech N9ne. Since the tour, DaVinci has kept busy appearing on numerous mixtapes and compilations, as well as preparing his official debut album, The Day The Turf Stood Still. The Day The Turf Stood Still is available now via SWTBRDS Creative Collective.
Apollo Brown Joins Forces With Stik Figa For Emotionally Charged New Single
"Seasons," the latest Apollo Brown single off of The Reset, is very much an exercise in melancholy. "I really wanted to hear something on the sad side, some grasping-onto-life type music," Apollo explains of his vision for the track. The old-time radio crackle, sparse guitar work, and echoing hook provide the perfect backdrop for the wistful lyrics of rising Kansas City emcee Stik Figa, currently working on a full length with producer Oddisee. A longing to escape his hometown and make it big flows through every syllable and the rapper uses seasonal imagery - winter in particular - to represent the stark and unforgiving emotions that can accompany such lofty goals. Still, both Apollo Brown and Stik Figa have achieved a level of success that only comes through perseverance, no better stated than in the line, "With the sun still shinin' / It doesn't seem as cold." "Seasons" explores sentiments we can all relate to and its sadness proves cathartic when coupled with the achievements of the song itself.
Born into a bi-racial family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Apollo Brown's early influences skewed more toward the music of Journey and The Carpenters than the urban genres his peers often cite as inspiration. This is not to say that once hip-hop came into play, Apollo wasn’t all in. Just as easily as he can praise the virtues of yacht rock, the 29-year-old beatsmith can name personal heroes - Gang Starr, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, M.O.P., Nas, and Black Moon - from the early 90s period in which, for him, beats and rhymes became life. Apollo began making his own music in 1996 using Voyetra audio software, then upgraded to Cool Edit 2000 in becoming a self-described bedroom beat-maker for roughly the next eight years. It was the mid-2000s, and the upstart producer saw no future for his work - work he had dedicated his life to - in an industry where radio was setting a formulaic pattern for mainstream music. But he eventually began to miss the creativity in his craft and began producing once again, releasing the instrumental albums Skilled Trade (2007) and Make Do (2009). He went on in 2009 to win the Detroit Red Bull Big Tune Championships and competed in the national finals. Apollo then signed as a producer with the Mello Music Group in December of 2009. His debut album, The Reset, is available now via Mello Music Group.
About Mello Music Group:
Like Lao Tzu in hip-hop, Mello Music Group provides music for the soul, from the heart of American culture, opening the realm of the intelligent hip-hop experience through melodic evocations, beats that corroborate the truth, and voices that roar above the rising void and impose order on the terrible & triumphant moments of everyday life. This is the compelling sound of Mello Music Group. Industry newcomer Michael Tolle founded MMG in 2007 and is acting Director of Operations. MMG will be releasing projects from Oddisee, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Kenn Starr, Finale, Trek Life, Dudley Perkins, Sareem Poems, UPS, and YU in 2010. http://www.myspace.com/mellomusicgroup .