Friday, 13 February 2015

Quiet Brilliance: Celebrating the life and works of Nujabes

We continue our Forever Maestro February month by commemorating the life and works of one of Hip Hops most talented, yet underrated producers, Jun Seba aka Nujabes. It was his birthday last Saturday.

The first time I heard Nujabes’ work, it was on an edit of Amerie’s “One thing”. Someone had mashed up Nujabes’ Aruarian Dance with the hit and to be honest, I wasn’t that crazy about the edit itself…but I LOVED the track. I ended up looking for it and to this day, it is my calm-down song. That and Goapele’s closer.

Next time I heard Nujabes was on the soundtrack for the alternate edo-era-Japan, hip hop anime “Samurai Champloo”. I mean the music that Nujabes and co. created for this show practically MADE the show. After listening to the soundtrack a few times, I went a-hunting for the rest of his stuff...and thankfully, there was a lot!

Nujabes’ is considered a jazzy, hip hop artist, but honestly I feel he transcended that title. He made this mellow, atmospheric, gorgeous stuff that was all at once contemporary and nostalgic. It was also really sophisticated with long, winding horns and intricate piano pieces…so silky and calming and unaware of itself. It was Zen Hip Hop.

Sadly, Nujabes died in a car accident on February 26th 2010, at just 36 years old.

It’s not too late to discover his work though. Check out this soundcloud which has a pretty comprehensive collection of his work.

Also, I would recommend getting Samurai Champloo for a chance to really appreciate the nuance of his music. It’s only 2 seasons for all you commitment phobes.

Considering his first major release was in 2003, the indelible mark his work made on hip hop and on music in general should tell you something about the quality of his work. He is missed deeply.

Rest in Beats Maestro.


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