Unsung Heroes: Camu Tao
Camu Tao was years ahead of his time. Explore the Columbus MC's short but rich career with El Scribes.
While MF DOOM (born Daniel Dumile) is highly regarded as one of the most inimitable figures in hip-hop, part of his legacy also lies within his collaborative work and in his eccentric half-dozen alter egos. Of those experimental projects, his partnership with Danger Mouse (born Brian Burton) is one of the most celebrated. Their debut project, The Mouse and the Mask, was released to critical acclaim in 2005, utilizing the collective moniker DANGER DOOM. The project was released in the UK through Lex Records, as well as in the United States through punk label Epitaph Records, marking the latter imprint's third foray into hip-hop. Best known for his work with the Gorillaz, Beck, the Black Keys, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Grammy Award-winning producer Danger Mouse handled the instrumentation, while DOOM focused on the animated vocals and eccentric lyrical direction. For DANGER DOOM‘s debut, Danger Mouse chose to sample exclusively from various animated shows airing on Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's late-night programming block—with a handful of cartoon characters from Aqua Teen Hunger Force making appearances on the album, in addition to the likes of Cee-Lo Green, Talib Kweli, and Ghostface Killah. With support from the network and famed comedian Dave Chappelle alike, the project was released in October 2005 and quickly became a cult fan favorite. While the album sparked several noteworthy talking points, MF DOOM's diss against his former collaborator, MF Grimm, undeniably stood out. The Monsta Island Czars (M.I.C.) member later responded with the track "Book of Daniel," during which he accused DOOM of selling out. With many hailing the seemingly unlikely pairing of MF DOOM and Danger Mouse as an undeniable success, DANGER DOOM delivered once again the following year, releasing their 2006 EP, Occult Hymn, exclusively though AdultSwim.com. Although DANGER DOOM has not reunited since 2006, their small-but-impactful body of work remains heralded as one of the most experimental and pleasantly absurdist collaborations to come out of the 2000s.
RJD2 (born Ramble Jon Krohn) is a producer, DJ, and singer-songwriter from Columbus Ohio, first exploring his multifaceted talents in 1993. After honing his craft for almost a decade, he then was recruited by El-P's Definitive Jux, with the homegrown label releasing his solo debut album Deadringer in 2002. After being met with critical acclaim for his first official release, he went on to collaborate with Blueprint, with the pair using the Alias Soul Position. Together, their joint effort 8 Million Stories was released via Rhymesayers Entertainment and sparked a repeated pattern of RJD2 collaborating with other recording artists under a variety of monikers. Dedicated to exploring various sonic realms, the producer draws from a variety of genres, ranging from hip-hop to soul and electronic to pop, incorporating obscure found samples and composing a mash-up of sounds in order to establish a signature sound not confined to one Sole direction. RJD2's way of blending a variety of styles and influences allows him the versatility to master a variety of genres and work with a wide range of other artists. With a sky's-the-limit creative approach, RJD2's Diverse and expansive catalog is able to explore genre-bending spaces with success, all while still curiously remaining authentic to who he is as a hip-hop musician at his core. With six solo studio albums and a laundry list of recorded material, RJD2 has built a name for himself by pushing different sounds forward and refusing to allow a ceiling be placed on his expertise.