Without question, February is one of the most difficult months for hip-hop heads. We’ve lost the likes of J Dilla, Big Pun, Nujabes, and Big L over the years and last week, we took a look back at our favorite beats from Dilla on what would have been his 39th birthday, Feb. 7. Did you know, however, that Nujabes (real name: Jun Seba) was born on that exact same day on the other side of the world? It’s true, had they not died tragically, they would have celebrated their 39th birthdays last Thursday.
It’s difficult to fully quantify and grasp the impact of Nujabes’ work, much of which walked that fine line between hip-hop and jazz. He had a clear affinity for infusing jazz from nearly every era, especially be bop, and influenced the careers of some of our favorite producers. These include up-and-comer Simon SMTHNG, West Coast jazz-head Trebles and Blues, and rising Australian star Ta-ku, the last of whom just finished his beautiful 25 Nights for Nujabes project.
And as a means of commemorating Nujabes’ career, we have chosen to compile our 15 favorite tracks from his discography. These include cuts from the two full-lengths he released prior to his passing in 2010, his work on the Samurai Champloo projects, and the compilations with his own Hydeout Productions.