Jun Seba, better known as “Nujabes,” was a Japanese hip hop producer and DJ from Tokyo. He recorded under the name Nujabes because the name is an anagram of his own. It is the reverse spelling of Seba Jun.
Nujabes was known throughout his career for creating hip hop sounds that were blended with jazz. Often, his works are more considered jazz hip hop because of this. He consistently created mellow sounds, and used a wide range of instruments to give listeners a relaxing vibe. Although he solely created beats and sounds and never rapped on his tracks, he teamed up with several hip hop vocalists such as Cise Starr, Substantial, CL Smooth and Shing02 to provide vocals to his music. His first solo album, “Metaphorical Music,” (2003) achieved universal acclaim, and was considered to be very groundbreaking for the hip hop genre. His follow up solo album, “Modal Soul,” (2005) also received very high praise. Finally, his posthumous album, “Spiritual State,” (2011) also received very positive reviews.
Nujabes founded his own record label in 1998 and named it Hydeout Productions. He also provided many works for the two Hydeout compilation albums. Additionally, he was the primary contributor to the soundtrack of the anime TV series “Samurai Champloo,” which blended themes of a feudal Japan with modern themes such as references to hip hop culture. The soundtrack for the show has received very positive reviews.
His music is some of the most soothing I’ve ever listened to. It’s great for chilling out and studying. All I have to do is put on a Nujabes playlist and I can study forever. Nujabes is another artist that was truly a musical mastermind, yet is largely unknown to many people. His works can easily be found on YouTube and SoundCloud due to his strong following in certain circles.
There are so many exceptional works from Nujabes, but here are some recommended works for starters:
Song Title: “Feather” from “Modal Soul” – One of my favorite works from Nujabes. The piano creates a calming sound, and the lyrics are exceptional. Starr provides good vocals for the song.
Song Title: “Lady Brown” from “Metaphorical Music” – A creative and smooth guitar-oriented beat with great vocals.
Song Title: “Voice of Autumn” from “Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection” – Purely an instrumental, this slow beat will mellow you out in a second.