Camu Tao

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Camu Tao
Birth name Tero Smith
Born (1977-06-26)June 26, 1977
Origin Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died May 25, 2008(2008-05-25) (aged 30)
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Producer, rapper, singer
Years active 1997–2008
Labels Definitive Jux, Fat Possum Records, Smash Bros., B.U.K.A. Entertainment
Associated acts S.A. Smash, The Weathermen, MHz Legacy, Central Services, Nighthawks. Couch Boys

Tero Smith (June 26, 1977 – May 25, 2008[1]), better known by his stage name Camu Tao, was an American rapper and producer who was signed to the Definitive Jux label. He was a member of several groups: S.A. Smash (with Metro), the underground hip hop supergroup The Weathermen, Central Services (with El-P), and the music collective Cardboard City.

He was also part of Columbus, Ohio's MHz crew with Copywrite, RJD2, Jakki da Motamouth and Tage Future.[2] Partnering with Cage to form Nighthawks, the two crafted an album during a single three-day creative session.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Smith died on May 25, 2008, after a two-year battle with lung cancer.[1] At the time of his death, he was producing a song for Cage's I Never Knew You EP and working on his first solo for Definitive Jux. On July 9, 2009, El-P announced via Twitter that the album, King of Hearts, was finished, and would be released on October 20, 2009.[4] King of Hearts was released on August 17, 2010 by Definitive Jux in collaboration with Fat Possum Records along with a free download EP from Central Services.[5] About the album, El-P said:

We all expected to get Camu in the studio and go as far as he wanted to go with the record. The songs are bare, but then again a lot of them are just what he wanted. A lot of them wouldn’t have changed much. Knowing Camu, he had a lot of talented musician friends he would have liked to have collaborated and have involved. I do think the album would have been different had he lived to complete it.

Aesop Rock, also on Definitive Jux, stated in a 2008 interview with The A.V. Club that his next album may contain "a couple of songs about my friend Camu [Tao]".[6] El-P, founder of the defunct Definitive Jux label, dedicated his album Cancer 4 Cure to his memory. In his song, "Racing Stripes," Aesop Rock reflects on Camu Tao near the end of his life. Specifically, Aesop Rock notes Camu Tao's unusual haircut, and the unusual new habits Camu Tao had developed.



  • Nighthawks (2002) (with Cage, as Nighthawks)
  • Blair Cosby: Cape Cod (Going for De Gold) (2004)
  • Blair Cosby II: The Wali Era (2005)
  • Forever Frozen in Television Time (2010) (with El-P, as Central Services)
  • King of Hearts (2010)


  • "Hear Me Talking to You" (2001)
  • "Hold the Floor" b/w "Wireless" (2001)
  • "Cop Hell" (2003) (with Cage, as Nighthawks)
  • "WMR" (2004) (with El-P)

Guest appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b Paine, Jake (2008-05-26). "Rapper Camu Tao Dies From Cancer". HipHopDX. Retrieved 2008-05-26. 
  2. ^ Eddy, Lincoln (February 13, 2013). "Resurrecting a MHz Legacy: RJD2 and Tage Future chase inspiration in "Out of Room"". Alarm. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  3. ^ Morris, David (February 3, 2006). "To Hell and Back: An Interview with Cage". PopMatters. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  4. ^
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ Wolinsky, David (December 11, 2008). "Aesop Rock". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]