Camu Tao (b. Tero Smith, June 6, 1977) passed away today after a year and a half long battle with lung cancer.
Message from El-P:
To those who knew Tero, he was an almost uncategorizable force of nature. Wild, hilarious, proud, loving, tough, outspoken, spontaneous and brilliant. He wore his heart on his sleeve and he dripped creativity, leaving inspiration and awe in the hearts and minds of anyone who was fortunate enough to see him work.
We, his friends and family, have truly had our collective hearts broken by his passing. Not only because of the loss of our friend, but because of the loss of his contribution to those who never knew what we knew about his talent and his potential. He was the secret that no one wanted to keep and we always knew that one day his vision and his heart could change music forever the way he changed all of our lives.
His departure from us all 1 month away from his 31st birthday is nothing less than a tragedy… nothing less than a crime. he was a gift to us all and he is irreplaceable. Rest in peace, Mu. We will love you forever. May god bless you and your family.
Tero “CAMU TAO” Smith
born 6/26/77, passed 5/25/08
jaime “el-p” meline (on behalf of many, many wonderful and broken hearted friends)
Message from RJD2:
Camu Tao, r.i.p.
So maybe a decent handful of the folks out there who are aware of myself are also aware of a group called the MHz. This was my first rap group; we did a few singles on Bobbito’s Fondle ’em records, a few compilation songs, etc. from 1997-ish to 2001-ish. This group was the entry point into the world of “professional” music for Camu Tao, Copywrite, and myself, and also provided the introduction of a few others. Anyway, Camu passed away yesterday. While this didnt come out of the blue for anyone who knew him, it still comes with the same amount of shock. He was one of the most truly creative people i’ve ever known, hilariously funny, and a complete enigma-almost anyone who ever met him remembered him, even if just in passing. He gave a lot of people in Columbus(and beyond) some amazing memories they will certainly have for the rest of their lives. If any of us make it past 50, Camu will be a large part of all those old man reminiscings. And while im still stunned, Im glad he isn’t in pain anymore.
Message from Copywrite:
TERO SMITH, REST IN PEACE
THIS IS FUCKED UP. Another friend lost. Tero Smith, aka Camu Tao was fighting lung cancer for about 3 years. I met Tero in my 1st freshman year(there where 3 of them) at walnut ridge high school. we both were rumored to be the illest drawers in the school. this was b4 i started lettin cats know i rapped and b4 he had even started. we both had the same art class, so bam we battled it out and us and the crowd realized we both were ill as fuck,but had our own styles. we ended up bondin thru that and started hangin out regularly. one day we were skippin school and i decided we shld walk 2 my dude jakki’s house. jakki’s crazy ass throws a rocks at camu b4 knowin him…ijust laughed cus thats how jakki is and always has been (crazy. ask about him) anyways, we all ended up doin our thing in this game and being the first group out of cols with a hiphop record(its documented, peep vibe’s history of hiphop book). we came in this game 2gether and paved the way for underground music being hed globally from Ohio. Me and Camu had our differences but once u call someone elses mom, your own mom, and are like brothers, any arguements or fights u get in with that person feel like sibling rivalry. Tero was good dude. had a great heart and anyone who met him will tell you the same. we all have our flaws and not one of us is perfect. I spoke with Camu on many occasions after our situation and it was all love. last time i saw him was about 3 weeks ago at the groove shack reunion at the hi 5. im thankful for that moment in time. my deep condolences go out to mr. and mrs.Smith, as well as his sisters cathy and sam, girfriend, supporters of his music and anyone who has ever met the man. we will all miss him and noone will ever replace his memories. Rest in Eternal Peace, my brother for life…..MUUUU TAO PKA TERO SMITH AKA ONE IN A MILLION. GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN. PEACE TO THE WEATHERMEN. AND ANYONE ELSE WHO IS GOING THRU IT LIKE I AM. P.S. TAKE TIME 2 enjoy this short gift while its here.