Don’t ask me how to pronounce NUJABES. Just listen to “Sea of Cloud” twice while in a supine position and then come back to read the rest of this article, preferably with a beverage. No hard liquor unless it’s smooth as hell and in a chilled glass.
That sample is none other than Chet Baker’s trumpet easing through the clouds, a perfect taste of everything that makes this Japanese DJ a legendary addition to any collection. Nujabes, which may or may not rhyme with Jujubes, was born Jun Seba in Tokyo in 1974. Coming of age just as hip-hop was finding its footing in mainstream America, Nujabes had access to a new musical lifeline in hip-hop. Picking up on the trends established by Yellow Magic Orchestra and Hiroshi Fujiwara in the east and A Tribe Called Quest and Gang Starr in the west, Nujabes created a repertoire of music that could be at times cutting and direct, and other times, transcendentally beautiful.
Using the catalyst of cool jazz, with which the Japanese have had a long love affair, Nujabes played with samples and traditional instrumentation in a way that had been done before, sure; some artists were going as far to say that jazz rap was “played out” by the mid-90s. But Nujabes continued on, including elements of trip-hop, ambient music, hi and lo-fi samples and committing himself to music, pouring through hours and hours of vinyl on the hunt for the missing piece.
There is a Japanese cultural concept known as Wa, or harmony. As this Wa was also used as a derogatory term for short-statured people and was a nasty name for early Japanese folks coined by the Chinese, it is useful to thing of Wa as a harmony accessible to the most common of men. A harmony that is accessible and unpretentious comes from Nujabes’ music, and it is the same reason why his music created some of the first “homework edits” on YouTube
Homework edits – one song extended to last for an hour or more at a time, to aid in the mental state of flow. Jazz and hip-hop were always art forms “for the common man”, and Nujabes saw this clearly, hunting for the perfect flows in recorded music and stitching them together into the rich tapestry before you. It’s thinking music for everyone.
Nujabes brought Japanese hip hop into the mainstream on both sides of the Pacific ocean and helped to establish the foundation for electronic music as it is today. One piece of his legacy is his label, Hydeout Productions, which produces music and hosts tribute concerts even after Nujabes’ death. He was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Shibuya City in 2010. His body did not survive. His music, however, is on the steady path to immortality.
HURRY – LISTEN – NUJABES
|Native name||瀬葉 淳|
|Birth name||Jun Seba|
|Born||(1974-02-07)February 7, 1974|
Nishi-Azabu, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
|Died||February 26, 2010(2010-02-26) (aged 36)|
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
|Genres||Hip hop, jazz rap, breakbeat, trip hop, nu jazz, left-field hip hop|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, DJ, composer, arranger|
|Instruments||Turntables, sampler, drum machine, flute|
|Associated acts||Substantial, Uyama Hiroto, Shing02, Five Deez, Terry Callier, FunkyDL, Cise Starr|
Jun Seba(瀬葉 淳,Seba Jun, February 7, 1974 – February 26, 2010), better known by his stage nameNujabes(ヌジャベス,Nujabesu), was a Japaneserecord producer, DJ, composer and arranger. Seba produced atmospheric instrumental mixes sampling from hip hop and jazz, and released three solo studio albums: Metaphorical Music (2003), Modal Soul (2005), and Spiritual State (released posthumously in 2011). Seba was founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions, and released two collection compilations: Hydeout Productions 1st Collection (2003) and 2nd Collection (2007). Additionally, Seba produced the soundtrack for Shinichirō Watanabe'sanime series Samurai Champloo (Music Record: Departure and Impression) in 2004.
On February 26, 2010, Jun Seba died in a traffic collision.
Jun Seba(瀬葉 淳,Seba Jun) was born on February 7, 1974, in the Nishi-Azabu district of Minato in central Tokyo, Japan. Seba was the owner of two Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records, and in 1998 founded the independent record label Hydeout Productions.
Seba adopted the stage name Nujabes (his name spelt in reverse) and became notable for his approach to producing hip hop beats, often blending jazz influences into his songs creating a mellow, nostalgic and atmospheric sound. Seba collaborated with Japanese artists like Uyama Hiroto, Shing02, L-Universe, and Minmi, and with various underground American hip hop acts such as CYNE, Cise Starr (as a solo apart from the hip-hop collective CYNE), Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, Fat Jon, Terry Callier as well as British rapper Funky DL. Seba was also a member of the production duo Urbanforest, an experimental collaboration with Nao T. Seba collaborated with Shing02 on the critically acclaimed Luv(sic)hexalogy, making the parts 1-3 together, but after Seba died unexpectedly many doubted that the series could ever be completed. However, parts 4 and 5 had already been completed, which were released shortly after Seba's death. Part 6 was not among the previously completed tracks, but it was released on February 26, 2013, on the third anniversary of Seba's death. According to Shing02's official Facebook page, the instrumental to what would eventually be part 6 was discovered on Seba's cell phone a few weeks after his death.
Seba was one of the most prolific contributors to the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed anime series Samurai Champloo, which blends a feudal Japanese setting with modern anachronisms, especially in regard to hip hop culture such as graffiti and rapping.
On February 26, 2010, Seba was involved in a traffic accident upon exiting the Shuto Expressway at 10:14 PM. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Shibuya Ward after efforts to revive him failed.
Seba's death has elicited many tributes from other artists around the world. On Bandcamp, the New York-based Digi Crates records have released a series of tribute albums performed by various artists in a style reminiscent of Seba's. In addition, Seba's label Hydeout Productions released a tribute album titled Modal Soul Classics II featuring a number of former collaborators and with lyrics and song titles referencing select tracks from both Modal Soul and Metaphorical Music, such as the track "Music is Ours", which directly references "Music is Mine", the 5th track of Modal Soul.
Frequent collaborator Shing02 has performed at many tribute concerts for Seba, and has remarked that "Through his soulful music, Nujabes has touched so many people around the world, even beyond his dreams", and "[I] deeply regret the loss of a unique talent and a close friend."
In 2013, Australian producer Ta-ku released the Tribute "25 Nights for Nujabes".
Daniel Hodgman, founder of hip hop culture website BonusCut, in a 2014 highlight of Modal Soul said that, "Nujabes may not be physically with us anymore, but through his music, his legacy and lust for life lives on." Co-founder Gus Navarro remarked that, "The music of the late producer Nujabes is something to hold onto and never let go."
|Hydeout Productions 1st Collection|
|Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection|
|Modal Soul Classics|
|Mellow Beats, Friends & Lovers|
|Modal Soul Classics II|
EPs and singles
- 1999: Ain't No Mystery
- 2001: "Dimension Ball Tracks Volume 1"
- 2002–2013: Luv(sic) Part 1 - Part 6
- 2002: "Blessing It/The Final View"
- 2003: "Flower/After Hanabi (Listen To My Beat")
- 2003: "Next View"
- 2003: "Lady Brown"
- 2003: "F.I.L.O"
- 2003: "Still Talking To You/Steadfast"
- 2015: Perfect Circle (With Shing02)
- 2001: To This Union a Sun Was Born (with Substantial)
- 2003: Bullshit as Usual (with Pase Rock)
- 1998: Sweet Sticky Thing
- 2002: Ristorante Mixtape: Nujabes
- ^"Nujabes, Spiritual State". Sputnik Music. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- ^James Hadfield (February 24, 2015). "Nujabes' friends to pay tribute to the soulful hip-hop producer on the fifth anniversary of his death". The Japan Times. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- ^"(Japanese) Hydeout Productions Information on Nujabes' Metaphorical Music and Other Works".
- ^Shing02 (April 2, 2012). "History and future of Luv(sic) series". Shing02's official Facebook page. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
- ^Shinichiro Watanabe; Kazuto Nakazawa (2007). ROMAN ALBUM: Samurai Champloo. Mangaglobe/Shimoigusa Champloos, Dark Horse Comics Inc. p. 55. ISBN 1-59307-642-8.
- ^"Japanese Hip-Hop producer Nujabes dies". Inquisitir. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- ^"Nujabes died in fatal car accident". The Find. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- ^"Tribute To Jun 5 : Midnight Hanabi (Nujabes Tribute), by Various Artists". Digi Crates Records.
- ^"A Tribute for Nujabes w/ Shing02 + Spin Master A-1 - Tickets - The Lyric Theatre - Los Angeles, CA - January 23rd, 2015". Ticketfly.
- ^"Greenteagraffiti.com". www.greenteagraffiti.com.
- ^"Jun Seba aka Nujabes, Rest In Peace - 2010 'til inifinity". empire22. March 17, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- ^"25 Nights For Nujabes". SoundCloud.
- ^"Album of the Week: "Modal Soul" by Nujabes". 15 January 2014.