On February 26th, 2010, Japanese hip-hop producer / DJ Jun Seba (more commonly known as Nujabes) was critically injured in a car accident on the Tokyo Metropolitan Expressway. After being transported to the hospital, Nujabes could not be revived and passed away at the age of 36.
Known for his prolific output of elegant, jazz-inflected compositions, Nujabes was well on his way to becoming a legend in hip-hop culture before his untimely death made him a tragic story. In the nine years since his passing, Nujabes has come to be recognized amongst the pantheon of hip-hop greats. His sound, rooted in sampling, is characterized by jazzy piano chords and melodies which would often toe the emotional line between sunny optimism and deep, nostalgic longing. Considered to be one of the forefathers of the niche instrumental hip-hop subgenre “Lo-Fi,” Nujabes’ thoughtful, dreamy style has influenced countless kids to take up making beats in their bedrooms.
In the immediate aftermath of his death, Nujabes’ friend and collaborator — pioneering Japanese-American rapper Shing02 — issued a heartfelt statement about his musical comrade. His words would echo the feeling that many fans and musicians felt at the time, but it would be the spiritual quality of Nujabes’ music that would provide the spark for his legend to grow in the years following.
“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.” -Shing02
Keeping his friend’s work and spirit alive, Shing02 has embarked on a tour in which he pays homage to the music of his fallen friend. Back up by his band, The Chee-Hoos, Shing02 interprets Nujabes’ elaborate compositions with the aid of a drummer, guitarist, sax and a live DJ.
On Monday, March 25th, Shing02 & The Chee-Hoos will bring their traveling tribute to Johnny Brenda’s. Armed with a wealth of material to choose from, including classic Nujabes and Shing02 collaborations like “Luv (sic)” and “F.I.L.O.” Shing02 does great justice to his friend’s memory by bringing the sounds that he created back to life on stage.
Shing02 & The Chee-Hoos: A Tribute to Nujabes comes to Johnny Brenda’s on Monday, March 25th at 8 p.m.. Tickets and more information on the 21+ show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
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