We can’t give love to the great J Dilla and forget to pay tribute to another legend in the hip hop game.
Ironically, Japanese producer Jun Seba a.k.a. Nujabes was born on the same day and year as fellow underground king, Dilla (Feb. 7th 1974- Feb 10th, 2006). Tragically he died in a traffic accident in his native home of Japan on Feb. 26th 2010. Today, would have been his 45th birthday. His death was grieved world-wide by hordes of jazz hop heads who recognize his work as the zenith of jazz and hip hop fusion. Throughout his life Jun was rather enigmatic. Though loved by the peers he worked with, he remained low-key, humble and an insular individual, thus not too much is known about him other than his art.
With four studio albums released during his lifetime, he rubbed shoulders and featured emcee’s from across the globe. The likes of Cise Starr, Tsuchie, Akin from CYNE, Funky DL, Pase Rock Substantial, Shing02 and more, displaying the worldwide appeal of his coherent and flowing instrumentals. The sound that Nujabes mastered was a refined approach to previous jazz hop works which catalyzed a global movement of slick jazz based hip hop.
His legacy lives on through this new generation of jazz beat heads like Lo-fi music etc. creating music so familiar to the legends sound it’s as if he’s still talking to us today.
I’m sure some of you readers are acquainted with the classic anime series above, Samurai Champloo. Well thank Nujabes and a few others for all the bops Cir. 2006 on Adult Swim. He not only graced us with magnificent compositions ranging from his albums and compilations but partnered with Fat Jon, Force of Nature and Tsutchie to give us this timeless work.
No time like the present to dig out your physical or digital Nujabes music, sit back, relax, take some tokes of your favorite strand and vibe to the classic beats he left with us before leaving this universe. To further reflect on the legacy of this legendary Japanese producer, here are a small selection of some of my personal favorites of late great Nujabes.
Rest in beats.