The music of Nujabes, more than any other subject matter, exemplifies what this blog is about. Now that you mention it, what is this blog about? Anything or any thing? I’ll be honest, I’m not trying to use this as some philosophical-psychoanalytical-character-study of myself or the world. There are already plenty of poorly written blogs, books, and Harpo-Winbag-recommended-pieces-of-firewood-kindling that do that. All I want to do is show people some cool stuff I think they may like, which they may not have found on their own.
And really; what’s cooler than a Nujabes Hip Hop beat?
A. Nothing X A blog post on Nujabes Hip Hop beats.
B. Nothing X Goku doing a kamehameha while wearing a Nujabes T-shirt
C. Nothing X Goku doing a kamehamhea while wearing a Nujabes T-shirt while listening to the Nujabes Pandora station
D. Nothing X Goku doing a kamehameha while wearing a Nujabes T-shirt while listening to the Nujabes Pandora station while doing a 360 flip over a 20 foot gap on a skateboard that has a Nujabes deck design.
E. All of the above.
That was a trick question. A Nujabes Hip Hop beat is like a parabolic equation that is always approaching infinity. “There is none higher. He sets the microphone on fire.”
The reason his music exemplifies this blog is because of it’s incredible ability to bring together elements of different cultures. Most people will probably recognize his music from, the similarly-ultra-cool, Samurai Champloo. The anime, like Nujabe’s music, combines elements of art, storytelling, jazz, hip-hop, and both modern and ancient Japanese culture.
As some may know Nujabes is simply Jun Seba spelled in reverse. Jun Seba is the birth name of the incredible Hip-Hop legend that was born and raised in Tokyo Japan. In addition to his prolific contributions to Samurai Champloo, Jun Seba was actively engaged with the Japanese and international underground Hip-Hop scene. He collaborated with artists such a Uyama Hiroto, Shingo2, Minmi, Cise Starr, Fat Jon, Terry Calier and Funky DL. Sadly, and unfortunately for lovers of Hip-Hop, Jun Seba died in a tragic car accident on February 27, 2010 at the age of 36. His impact and influence on not only hip-hop, but also artistic expression in general, will forever be felt and remembered.
As a piano player I’ve come to love Nujabes for his signature incorporation of Jazz into his samples. There is something about pianos, martial arts, and Hip-Hop that hits all the right places in my higher primate brain. Wu-Tang certainly understood this well. Below is the full album Nujabes- Modal Soul. At just over 1 hour the album is a mind blowing masterpiece that takes a strange journey through dreamy-anthem-disco-Gil Scott Heron-like samples. (There is some coarse language at times but over all it’s a very accessible album. Fans of any type of music could easily be engaged and given a new-found love of Hip-Hop.)
00:00- 02:51 – Feather (feat. Cise Starr & Akin)
02:52 – 07:49 – Ordinary Joe (feat. Terry Callier)
07:50 – 11:54 – Reflection Eternal
11:55 – 17:24 – Luv (Part 3 featuring Shing02)
17:25 – 21:33 – Music is Mine
21:34 – 24:57 – Eclipse (feat. Substantial)
24:58 – 29:41 – The Sign (feat. Pase Rock)
29:42 – 33:46 – Thank You (feat. Apani B)
33:47 – 39:25 – World’s End Rhapsody
39:26 – 44:06 – Modal Soul (feat. Uyama Hiroto)
44:07 – 48:03 – Flowers
48:04 – 51:02 – Sea of Cloud
51:03 – 54:52 – Light on the Land
54:53 – Horizon
Below is a playlist of some of his top tracks. I especially like the Spanish guitar sample on the 4th Track: Lady Brown (ft. Cise Starr). I’ve had this on repeat for pretty much a week. I’ve actually been using this to test a new way to study Japanese. When I get bored of doing SRS repetitions I put on the instrumental beats and try to Rap the sentences over the mix. (In the safety and privacy of my room with the lights off and the blinds down and the door locked of course.) Something else I recommend doing is finding cool surfing or skateboard videos, mute them, and then play the Nujabes’ beats instead.
Hope everyone is inspired. I love doing anything artistic to this music. Writing Kanji becomes like meditation. Just another piece of JPgomi.