|Birth name||Jun Seba|
February 7, 1974|
Nishi-Azabu, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
|Died||February 26, 2010
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
|Genres||Instrumental hip hop, hip hop, chillhop, Japanese jazz, electronica, jazz|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, DJ, composer, arranger|
|Instruments||Turntables, sampler, drum machine, flute|
|Associated acts||Substantial, Uyama Hiroto, Shing02, Five Deez, Terry Callier, FunkyDL, Cise Starr|
Jun Seba (瀬葉淳 Seba Jun?, February 7, 1974 – February 26, 2010), born in the Nishi-Azabu district of Minato, was a Japanese record producer, DJ, composer and arranger who recorded under the stage name Nujabes (ヌジャベス Nujabesu?). Nujabes (pronounced //) was an anagram of his name, being the reverse spelling of Seba Jun. He was the owner of two Shibuya record stores, T Records and Guinness Records, and founder of the independent label Hydeout Productions. His style mixes hip hop and jazz samples. Nujabes collaborated with other Japanese artists such as Uyama Hiroto, Shing02 (with whom he created the critically acclaimed "Luv(sic)" hexalogy), Minmi, and was also involved with America's underground hip hop scene through collaboration with CYNE, Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, Fat Jon, and Terry Callier. In his career he released three studio albums (Metaphorical Music in 2003, Modal Soul in 2005, and Spiritual State, released posthumously in 2011) and two collection compilations (Hydeout Productions 1st Collection in 2003 and 2nd Collection in 2007). One of his most recognizable works is that of the background music for Shinichirō Watanabe's series Samurai Champloo (Music Record: Departure and Impression) in 2004.
Nujabes was best known for his approach to hip hop beats, often blending jazz influences into his songs creating a mellow, nostalgic and atmospheric sound. He sampled a wide range of instruments and genres to create a soothing vibe. In addition to Japanese artists like Uyama Hiroto, Shing02, L-Universe, and Minmi, Nujabes collaborated 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. He was also a member of the production duo Urbanforest, an experimental collaboration with Nao T.
Nujabes was one of the most prolific contributors to the background music and soundtracks of Samurai Champloo, an anime which blends a feudal Japan setting with modern anachronisms, especially in regard to hip hop culture such as graffiti and rapping.
Nujabes collaborated with Shing02 on the critically acclaimed "Luv(sic)" hexalogy. They made parts 1-3 together, but after Seba's death many doubted that the series could ever be completed. However, parts 4 and 5 had already been completed, and were released shortly after Nujabes' death. Although part 6 was not among the previously completed tracks, it was released on February 26, 2013, 3 years after the day Seba had died. According to Shing02's official Facebook page, the instrumental to what would eventually be part 6 was discovered on Nujabes' cell phone a few weeks after his death.
On February 26, 2010, Nujabes was involved in a traffic accident upon exiting the Shuto Expressway late at night. He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Shibuya Ward after efforts to revive him failed.
Nujabes' death has elicited many tributes from other artists around the world. On Bandcamp, the New York based Digi Crates records have released a series of tribute albums performed by various artists in a style reminiscent of Seba's. In addition, Nujabes' former label Hydeout Productions released a tribute album titled Modal Soul Classics II featuring a number of former collaborators and with lyrics and song titles referencing select tracks from both Modal Soul and Metaphorical Music, such as the track "Music is Ours", which directly references "Music is Mine", the 5th track of Modal Soul.
Frequent collaborator Shing02 has performed at many tribute concerts to the late DJ, and has remarked that "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."
Daniel Hodgman, founder of hip hop culture website BonusCut, in a 2014 highlight of Nujabes' Modal Soul has claimed 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."
|Hydeout Productions 1st Collection
|Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection
|Modal Soul Classics
|Mellow Beats, Friends & Lovers
|Modal Soul Classics II
|Samurai Champloo Music Record: Departure
|Samurai Champloo Music Record: Impression
EPs and Singles
- 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)
Albums Produced in Collaboration with Other Artists
- 2001: To This Union a Sun Was Born (with Substantial)
- 2003: Bullshit as Usual (with Pase Rock)
- 1998: Sweet Sticky Thing
- 2002: Ristorante Mixtape: Nujabes
- "Nujabes, Spiritual State". Sputnik Music. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- James Hadfield (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 May 8, 2015.
- (Japanese) Hydeout Productions Information on Nujabes' Metaphorical Music and Other Works
- Shinichiro Watanabe; Kazuto Nakazawa (2007). ROMAN ALBUM: Samurai Champloo. Mangaglobe/Shimoigusa Champloos, Dark Horse Comics Inc. p. 55. ISBN 1-59307-642-8.
- Shing02 (April 2, 2012). "History and future of Luv(sic) series". Shing02's official Facebook page. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
- "Japanese Hip-Hop producer Nujabes dies". Inquisitir. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Nujabes died in fatal car accident". The Find. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
- "Jun Seba aka Nujabes, Rest In Peace - 2010 'til inifinity". empire22. March 17, 2010. Retrieved May 8, 2015.