Jun Seba, better known as the Japanese hip-hop producer and DJ Nujabes, composed the music for the anime series Samurai Champloo. The series blends a feudal Japanese setting with modern anachronisms, and he contributed a hip-hop soundtrack that is strongly identified with the series. Nujabes owned the “tribe” record store in Shibuya, and founded the independent label Hydeout Productions. Nujabes was a very private person, so very little is known about him outside of his music credits.
As a producer, Nujabes produced three albums in Japan: To This Union a Son Was Born (2001), Bullshit As Usual (2003), and Mellow Beats, Friends & Lovers (2009). In Japan, he collaborated with artists such as Shing02, Uyama Hiroto, and Minmi. Nujabes also collaborated with American hip-hop acts, such as CYNE, Cise Starr, Apani B, Five Deez, Substantial, CL Smooth, and Terry Callier. He also collaborated with British rapper Funky DL and R&B singer Dwele. In addition to acting as a solo producer, Nujabes was also part of the production duo Urbanforest (along with Nao T); as Urbanforest, they made an appearance on a Lady Brown 12” record.
Nujabes made his debut as an artist in 2003 on the compilation album, Hydeout Productions 1st Collection. This was followed by Metaphorical Music in 2003, Ristorante NUJABES in 2004, Modal Soul in 2005, Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection in 2007, and Modal Soul Classics in 2008. His music has a strong influence from cool jazz, and uses samples from artists such as Miles Davis and Yusef Lateef.
Sadly, Nujabes passed away in an automobile accident in Tokyo on February 26, 2010. He was 36 years old at the time of his passing. This was also the same day that a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck Japan; however, it is not known if the earthquake had contributed to the automobile accident that claimed Nujabes’ life. His family held a private burial in Shimeyaka. Hydeout Productions also released a statement saying that Nujabes had left behind some unreleased recordings, and that they would be released at some point in the future.
When news of Nujabes’ passing was officially confirmed a few weeks later, Shing02 made the following statement: “We deeply regret the loss of a unique talent and a close friend. Through his soulful music, Nujabes has touched so many people around the world, even beyond his dreams. It continued to amaze me how young listeners of all backgrounds learned of his enigmatic name, and expressed support for his music.”
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