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Rest in Peaceland Nujabes

18 Mar 2010

Jun Seba, widely known by his dee-jay moniker Nujabes, has reportedly passed away. Rapper and close friend Shing02 confirmed on his website yesterday that the Japanese hip-hop producer and founder of independent label Hydeout Productions in fact died on February 26 from a tragic car accident:

We deeply regret the loss of a unique talent and a close friend. Through his soulful music, Nujabes has touched so many people around the world, even beyond his dreams. He was a mysterious character to most as he avoided the public limelight, rarely conducted interviews, so only a few got to know the man behind the signature production. Yet it continued to amaze me how young listeners of all backgrounds learned of his enigmatic name, and expressed support for his music.

I remember when the smooth, ethereal sound of Nujabes and Shing02’s “Battlecry” first glided into my ears six years ago – the opening theme to Samurai Champloo, a anime helmed by Shinichiro Wantanabe (Cowboy Bebop). Champloo centered on the adventures of two samurai and a flower girl during Japan’s Edo period, yet it wonderfully fused anachronistic elements of hip-hop culture. For this project Nujabes was the perfect choice. Known for blending elements of jazz into his hip-hop beats, the virtuosic producer brought that same indescribable fusion to the table.

After “Battlecry,” I was hungry for more. Scouring the web, I soon found my pimpled 15-year-old brain pulsing to the upbeat spring of “Don’t Even Try It,” to the lovely soul-shine of “Aruarian Dance,” to the heartfelt power of “Luv (Sic) Pt. 2,” to the dreamlike possibility of “Peaceland.” But Nujabes’ music isn’t merely a cerebral or sensory experience, it’s also a whole body-shuddering, spiritualized one – the sort of music that the best of jazz and hip-hop aspire to make.

A great supporter of international music cooperation, Nujabes worked extensively with artists such as Shing02, Funky DL, CYNE, Five Deez and Uyama Hiroto.

Only 36 at his time of death, Nujabes’ fluid sound and collaborative spirit will not be forgotten. According to Shing02, some of the DJ’s work remains unreleased. Let’s hope we can hear it someday. If you haven’t acquainted yourself with his music, please do so below – and if you have, well, you already know how good it is:

Nujabes – Aruarian Dance

Nujabes feat. Shing02 – Luv (Sic) Pt. 2

“To this space filled with darkness and negative matter
Anti-gravity pull is what I would rather
Feel when I leave this shell eventually
Ties to the mother earth ground me mentally
Real vibes will keep me alive spiritually
Imagination brings bliss at no cost
When I blink blink I receive at no loss”
— Luv (Sic) Pt. 2

Kindly leave a comment for Nujabes here.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. jsand permalink
    18 Mar 2010 12:38 PM

    man this is nuts first dilla and now this one! he was off the scene which i loved because i understood why he would want to be! you had to sort of keep a watch out for any new releases his music is something special… ill spend the day listening to all his music i bought most of his albums and got some off of its an experience even my mother (who doesnt like hip hop) loved!!!! RIP NUJA!!!!


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