What with all the days of stories and podcast production and general Seasonal Affective Disorder, I neglected to properly commemorate the second anniversary of Nujabes’ passing a couple weeks ago.
If you’re new here, Nujabes is probably second only to J.Dilla in my all-time hip-hop producer hall of fame. When I first arrived in Kingston before I found a job, I spent most mornings watching Samurai Champloo, the follow-up series by the production team behind my favourite anime ever, Cowboy Bebop. It was on that soundtrack that I first encountered his music, and it became daily listening to me, along with his other full length releases and remixes. Something about it always suited the cold Kingston days.
As far as just…shock at having lost an artist I admired, the only thing close to what I felt when I learned he had passed was when MuchNews interrupted a block of music videos to tell us all that Kurt Cobain had killed himself. But that was different. Cobain’s death was deliberate, and I could process it with friends who appreciated him as much as I had, probably more [I preferred Soundgarden].
With Nujabes, it was just a random tragedy cutting down a man in the prime of his life, and I had to process it alone, none of my friends were into him like I was. I’m not trying to make it into more than it was, it’s not like I lost family, but you take for granted that the guy’s always going to be there, that every six months I could scour some message boards and score a new batch of his own work or some production he’d done for other people. Instead you find out he’s been killed in a car wreck on a Tokyo Expressway, and all you can hope for are some half-finished tracks he left behind, the mandatory tribute albums.
But the music lives on, and I stay thankful for the joy it’s given and will continue to provide. Rest in Peace, Seba Jun.
For anyone who’s interested, I did a [too] lengthy podcast on Nujabes’s career last year, you can check that below.