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“How Japanese artist Nujabes spawned a whole generation of musicians”: an essay by nohidea

This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Atwood magazine invited artists to participate in a series of short essays in respect and celebration of the significance of the month. Today’s submission comes from Los Angeles-based artist nohidea.
nohidea’s prolific output, which has released over 9 albums in just one year, along with his involvement in the original lofi.hiphop forum and subsequent reddits and internet communities, has made him one of the most popular artists around. influential in this space; his track “falling down” inspired the late XXXTENTACTION’s “Carry On”. nohidea has remained anonymous throughout his career, and the guest essay offers a rare look into the mind of the faceless artist’s influences. After remaining silent since its last full release Lost/Found‘ at the beginning of 2020, it attracts more than one million monthly listeners on Spotify alone. 2022 saw his comeback with the mixtape sweet dreamsthe prelude of the next album Psychonauticswhich is due out this summer. Psychonautics shows nohidea attempting to chart a new course for the lo-fi genre and electronic music as a whole, bringing elements of contemporary rap, drum n bass, UK garage and old school hip-hop, to create something unique. completely new.
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J Dilla (James Yancey, aka Jay Dee) and Nujabes (Seba Jun, aka Jun) go together as unanimously the most prolific and quintessential beatmakers of the century.

Undoubtedly inspiring your favorite artists and their favorite artists at any given time, countless trend setters at the top of the totem, from Kanye West, Metro Boomin, Virgil Abloh, to Kendrick Lamar, James Blake and Erykah Badu; even Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams considered J Dilla a cardinal inspiration for them in music.

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J Dilla had subsequently achieved acclaim across North America within the hip hop community and its subcultures, particularly posthumously; however, Nujabes and his works were not as widely celebrated or recognized as the timeless piece of hip hop history as they are, perhaps even passed today. A tragedy to say the least, as it had such a profound impact and effect on my own creations, my style as a whole, and my philosophy of beatmaking. Therefore, I personally wish to share more of his story, based on my interpretation of some of his accomplishments during his lifetime.

Nujabes, after releasing an impressive amount of incredible, evocative and masterful albums and collaborative projects, has become increasingly notable in Japan – in addition to owning two of his own record stores in Japan – thus cementing his rise in the cultural ubiquity as a record producer. look for.

Nujabes’ laid-back production style and talent for simple, effective drumming and rhythms, the sophisticated melancholy of his beats, as well as the samples he chose to use in his music, are what praised him. as “The J Dilla of Japan” and gave him his signature sound – the same sound that would later inspire and spawn the creation of the “lo-fi hip hop” subculture as a whole.

Japanese artist Nujabes, hailed as
Japanese artist Nujabes hailed as “Japan’s J Dilla”

With his prolific output providing supreme visibility in Japan and Asia, as another major cultural hub and competitor in the hip hop world, Nujabes landed his works as part of a major soundtrack section from the hit Japanese Anime series. Samurai Champloo. Such works cemented him in the film and television sectors in his home country and catapulted him into the limelight both nationally and internationally. This show would later become the raison d’etre of why lo-fi music and anime are so often associated. It works, and the mids lend themselves beautifully to each other, aesthetically.


This show would also quickly become a staple of the general mythology of hip-hop and beatmaking culture at the time.

due to the works of Nujabes being the title card anthem for Samurai Champloo, and the soundtrack would continue to inspire and shape the future of hip-hop and sample-based production and beats, even until their future incorporation into mainstream media. This style of music is very often used as a vehicle for expressing socially conscious and inherently progressive political themes and narratives, which are not lacking in Nujabes music and lyrical accompaniments. Some examples of the incorporation of this style into mainstream media can be heard in hit TV titles such as Afro Samurai, Entourage, The Boondocks, Megalo Box, Gurren Laggan and of course The Wire, to name a few. some. There are also myriad examples of the incorporation of hip-hop and sample-based music into mainstream/AAA film – far too numerous to name here.

Jun’s music has a distinctive character nostalgic quality at that. This is partly due to the equipment he had at the time. Using gear from the mid-2000s, ’90s and before – samplers, drum machines and synthesizers – we can begin to recreate that vintage, almost “broken” signature.

Australian producer Ta ku notably released the tribute album 25 nights for the Nujabes in tribute to his life, his achievements and his intergenerational influence. American rapper SahBabii even paid tribute to Nujabes in the song “Anime World”. His legacy has been a strong influence for so many people for many years, myself included.



© 2022
© 2022

Jun has deeply influenced my own music, drawing inspiration from the whirlwind of beautiful things I felt while listening to the Samurai Champloo soundtrack over and over when I was a kid. I can’t even express it in words that do it justice – seeing hip-hop and Japanese anime converging for the first time really mesmerized me. From then on, it always stuck with me. Like peanut butter and jelly.

In 2017, I released an album called It’s a. It is a restorative spell of Japanese RPG video game Final Fantasy – it’s like a panacea magic spell. I composed and released each of the 13 songs on It’s aalmost live, every day for 13 consecutive days in tribute to the life and work of the Nujabes.

Nujabes’ life was cut short far too soon. RIP to the biggest.

I would really like you to know how loved you would become. Thanks for the endless inspiration. Sincerely, C no idea

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Stream: “JOY” – nohidea

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joy - no idea

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:: Flow nujabes ::

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