Some of the finest dub style hip-hop rhythms and vibes out there came from recording virtuoso Nujabes. There's a good chance mainstream hip-hop devotees don't know what they were missing. A brief but inadequate reference to his style can be conjured by alluding to the soundtrack he created for Samurai Champloo. The richness of his albums leave anyone familiar with that soundtrack flabbergasted they never before experienced the mellow sensations of drifting away on Nujabes' beats for more than an hour. That US market controllers had a taste of his sound but didn't push sales can only be described as confusing.
Nujabes, whose real name was Jun Seba, died in February of this year in a car accident in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo. He was a musical genius snatched from the world in the prime of his life. On albums like Modal Soul and Metaphorical Music he fused the honey sweet lyrics of soul sisters with bread and butter beats that floated along at the perfect speed to chill out even the most hectic to and fro of the waking world. Music lost a great man this year, but even though he left the land of the living at such a young age, Jun Seba left behind a big legacy.
The works of art Nujabes created show off just how classy and mature hip-hop can be. He most often created an atmosphere of comfortable, smooth grooves that nevertheless get down and keep getting down. Recordings unreleased at the time of his death will be made available to the public in the near future by his label, Hydeout Productions. Until then, though, take this info from someone who knows. The work already available is hugely worth listening to if you're a fan of kind hip-hop. Just like the kind, it leaves you high, never low.
February 19, 1974 – February 26, 2010