January 3, 2013

Nujabes: Gone Before His Time

Not everyone out there can be considered a true musician in this day and age, but Nujabes was not everyone

Let me take a guess, you have no idea who I’m talking about. Well let’s start from the basics; Nujabes was a Japanese hip-hop producer that had his own blend of creative sound mixing ingenuity. Mixing hip-hop bass with a hint of jazz samples made his style stand out from the hype storm of beat makers outside of the United States. His stage name was inspired from his actual birth name, Seba Jun, but just spelled backwards, resulting in Nujabes.

He had been making music for quite a while before he had a cult following and the sad fact is I didn’t catch wind of Nujabes until a year after he had lost his life due to a car accident, which somehow resulted in the previously mentioned cult following.

Let me just say that I hate jumping on dead musician band wagons, but this guy was something special. A few years ago I was watching Netflix and tuned into this Japanese anime series called Samurai Champloo. The show was about a group of misfits, including a teenaged girl and two exiled samurais, on their search across feudal Japan to find another samurai.

The show was decent enough, in fact it is one of my favorite Japanese cartoons out on the market, but what really set it apart was its incredible soundtrack.

Nujabes, alongside another Artists called Fat Jon (which I encourage you to check out as well since he is still walking above ground), put together a jazzy hip-hop mellow backdrop that went surprisingly well with the show. Maybe it was opposites attracting as the pre-tech Samurai era contrasted well with the urban hip-hop styles of today.

Mind you, this was just the starting point. I soon took to the internet to find more work by the late genius. To my surprise, I had found entire albums of this man’s strange yet calming music. As fast as I found out about the artist, the time it took for his music to travel to my iPod was about the same speed. To this day I find his music quite relaxing, especially if you are working at a desk job and want to tune out the rest of the office. Another one of my key reasons for my interest in Nujabes was not only his work, but the inspiration he provided to others to remaster his songs. For instance, there is a group called Inntimate Sound, who took one of his most notable tracks, “Shiki No Uta,” and remixed it to their own style, but still served the late artist justice. Take a listen to it.

This man may be long gone, but he lives on through his unique music. I encourage you to take a quick listen to some of this man’s work. Below is a song of his called “Counting Stars,” and with over 3 million views, this seems to be his most popular piece.

Rest in Beats Nujabes.

Image Credit: kitolo

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