Jun Seba (Japanese: 瀬葉 淳, Hepburn: Seba Jun, February 7, 1974 – February 26, 2010), better known by his stage name Nujabes (ヌジャベス, Nujabesu), was a Japanese record producer, audio engineer, DJ, composer and arranger best known for his atmospheric instrumental mixes sampling from hip hop, soul, and jazz, as well as incorporating elements of trip hop, breakbeat, downtempo, and ambient music.

Nujabes
瀬葉 淳
Nujabes performing live.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJun Yamada (山田 淳)
Born(1974-02-07)February 7, 1974
Nishi-Azabu, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
DiedFebruary 26, 2010(2010-02-26) (aged 36)
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Resting placeTama Cemetery
Tokyo, Japan
Genres
Occupation(s)
Instruments
Years active1995–2010
LabelsHydeout Productions
WebsiteHydeout Productions

Seba released two studio albums during his lifetime: Metaphorical Music (2003) and Modal Soul (2005), while the album Spiritual State was released posthumously in 2011. He was the founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions and released two collection compilations: Hydeout Productions 1st Collection (2003) and 2nd Collection (2007).[1] Additionally, Seba collaborated on the soundtrack for Shinichirō Watanabe's anime series Samurai Champloo (Music Record: Departure and Impression) in 2004.

In 2010, Seba died in a traffic collision at the age of 36.[2] Although relatively niche during his lifetime, Seba has since achieved posthumous acclaim and been referred as the "godfather" of lo-fi hip hop. Credited with predating the genre's popularity in the 2010s, Seba has inspired numerous subsequent producers and imitators.[3] His production techniques and career have also been compared favorably with J Dilla.[4]

BiographyEdit

Seba 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.

CareerEdit

Seba adopted the stage name Nujabes (his name spelled backwards) 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. He is considered a pioneer of lo-fi hip hop, or "chillhop".[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

DeathEdit

On February 26, 2010, Seba was in a traffic collision upon exiting the Shuto Expressway at 22:14. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Shibuya Ward after efforts to revive him failed.[9][10] His grave is located within the Japanese section of Tama Cemetery.

LegacyEdit

Seba's death elicited many tributes from other artists around the world. On Bandcamp, the New York-based Digi Crates records released a series of tribute albums performed by various artists in a style reminiscent of Seba's.[11] 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 that reference Seba's work.

Frequent collaborator Shing02 remarked, "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."[12][13] Shing02 has performed at tribute concerts for Seba.

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."[14]

In 2013, Australian producer Ta-ku released the tribute album 25 Nights for Nujabes.[15]

In 2018, Polish rapper Zeus released the tribute song "Kwiaty dla J."[16]

In 2018, American rapper SahBabii mentioned Nujabes in his song “Anime World”. He said “RIP Nujabes, nine tails a Jinchuriki”. In an interview with XXL, SahBabii said Nujabes was an influence for him to make music.[17]

In 2018, American rapper Logic mentioned Nujabes in the track "Thank You" off of his album YSIV, saying "I had to write this over a Nujabes vibe", referencing the production style of the track, which is reminiscent of Nujabes' music.[18] In 2020, Logic cited Nujabes as a key inspiration behind his production style alongside MF Doom, RZA and Kanye West in the track "Perfect" off of his album No Pressure.[19]

On 26 July 2019, Otakon held a tribute concert in Washington, D.C., featuring Shing02, MINMI, Substantial, Marcus D and EyeQ. [20]

On October 21, 2020 Chester Watson released the album A Japanese Horror Film[21] featuring a track titled “Nujabes”.

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Compilation albumsEdit

Soundtrack albumsEdit

EPs and singlesEdit

  • 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)

Collaborative albumsEdit

  • 2001: To This Union a Sun Was Born (with Substantial)
  • 2003: Bullshit as Usual (with Pase Rock)

Official mixtapesEdit

  • 1998: Sweet Sticky Thing
  • 2002: Good Music Cuisine - Ristorante Nujabes
  • 2003: Tribe Sampler Vol. 1

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Nujabes, Spiritual State". Sputnikmusic. December 6, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  2. ^ Hadfield, James (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 June 14, 2020.
  3. ^ Cortez, Kevin (April 24, 2018). "YouTube & Chill: A Glimpse Into The World Of Lo-Fi Hip Hop". Genius. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  4. ^ Lane, Patrick (February 7, 2012). "A Tribute to J Dilla and Nujabes". The Word Is Bond. Retrieved April 24, 2022.
  5. ^ Dayman, Lucy (September 10, 2018). "Nujabes: The Japanese Icon Who Shaped the Future of Hip Hop". Culture Trip.
  6. ^ "Hydeout Productions Information on Nujabes' Metaphorical Music and other works". Hydeout Productions (in Japanese).
  7. ^ Shing02 (April 2, 2012). "History and future of Luv(sic) series". Shing02's official Facebook page. Archived from the original on 2020-06-14. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  8. ^ Watanabe, Shinichiro; Kazuto, Nakazawa (March 13, 2007). Roman Album: Samurai Champloo. Dark Horse Comics Inc. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-59307-642-9.
  9. ^ "Japanese Hip-Hop producer Nujabes dies". Inquisitir. March 18, 2010.
  10. ^ "News: Nujabes died in fatal car accident". The Find Mag. March 18, 2010.
  11. ^ "Tribute To Jun 5 : Midnight Hanabi (Nujabes Tribute), by Various Artists". Digi Crates Records.
  12. ^ "A Tribute for Nujabes w/ Shing02 + Spin Master A-1". Ticketfly. January 23, 2015. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "Jun Seba aka Nujabes, Rest In Peace". e22.com. March 17, 2010.
  14. ^ "Album of the Week: "Modal Soul" by Nujabes". January 15, 2014.
  15. ^ "25 Nights For Nujabes". SoundCloud.
  16. ^ "ZEUS - Kwiaty dla J." YouTube (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2021-12-22.
  17. ^ Kids Take Over (December 29, 2018). "1on1: Sahbabii on Still Recording in Bedroom, Getting Fired, and Yu Gi Oh Cards (Interview)". Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  18. ^ "Thank You (feat. Lucy Rose & The RattPack) by Logic". SoundCloud. September 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Perfect by Logic". SoundCloud. July 24, 2020.
  20. ^ "Otakon 2019 Tribute to Nujabes Concert". Facebook.
  21. ^ Raw, Son (30 October 2020). "A Japanese Horror Film, Directed by Chester Watson". Passion of the Weiss.

External linksEdit