Introducing one of the founding fathers of lofi, a legendary Japanese architect of chill hop, sampling vinyls in the early formation of the genre.
Born in 1974 in the heart of Tokyo, Jun Seba otherwise known as 'Nujabes' (his name spelt backwards) would play a major role in founding the genre of 'lofi' or 'chill/jazz hop', that the world had yet to see. He was a master of sophistication, a Shibumi, the Japanese style of purity to the essence, without a drop more; expressing an essence of tranquil peace; oceans in his veins.
He owned several vinyl shops in Tokyo and was historic in his ability to shapeshift obscure records; transporting the listener into bluebird lavender evenings, helping pave the way for spirituality to bridge into hip hop culture, mixing relaxing jazz sounds with oldschool 90's hip hop style instrumentals.
Check out this track below from his first album Metaphorical Music (2004) ~
American rapper Substantial who worked heavily with Nujabes stated how the producer was heavily inspired by 90's alternative hip hop artists such as Native Tounges, A Tribe Called Quest, Pete Rock and CL Smooth.
In 2004 he famously scored the theme song of iconic anime series 'Samurai Champloo', planting the seeds for a crossover between lofi and anime that contemporary lofi producers now work with as an established aesthetic.
Nujabes was deeply connected to spirituality and the deep zen state of simplicity which he used to source his music. His untimely death in a car accident in 2010 left us with his legacy of awakening beats to help us see things clearer through his music.
A posthumous album was released a year after his passing entitled 'Spiritual State', an accurate description of how Nujabes now lives on through music.
Most recently in Febuary 2020, 11 new unheard verses by legendary rapper MF Doom were released over b-side Nujabes beats, a timely tribute to the Japanese lofi guru and his enduring legacy, who has garnished the ultimate respect of countless rappers such as Madlib, J. Cole & Joey Bada$$.
So remember, next time you are on Youtube listening to a 'Lofi' or 'Chill Hop' playlist keeping you relaxed whilst you study, you have Nujabes to thank.
Sit back, close your eyes and fly.
- PSYCHIC GARDEN