As some of you know I am a big fan of hip hop, a lot of artists inspire me but very few are able to talk to my soul as the producers Nujabes and J Dilla do.
There are some connections between them which is why I picked one article to go through them both. I will go through their careers, similarities, and what to me makes them stand out as individuals. Click “read more” if you find this topic interesting.
First similarity we find between the 2 producers is their birth date, Nujabes and J Dilla were both born on February 7, 1974.
Nujabes with the birth-name Jun Seba was born in Tokyo Japan while J Dilla with the birth-name James Yancey was born on the other side of the planet in Detroit Michigan.
J Dilla, back then known as Jay Dee, started his career very young when he in 1995 as a 21 year old formed a group with fellow Detroit rapper MC Phat Kat called 1st Down. They were the first rap group from Detroit to sign to a major label. However his fame didn’t rise dramatically until he formed the group Slum Village in 1996. The group was quickly compared to another jazz influenced hip hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, which irritated Jay Dee as he didn’t want to be put in a box.
Nujabes started his career as the owner of 2 record stores in Japan and started his own record label in 1998 called Hydeout productions. With that record label he released the album Metaphorical Music in 2003 and the collaboration album Hydeout Productions 1st Collection with fellow Japanese producers Fat Jon and Monorisic that same year. However his career as a producer peaked the next year when he worked on samples used for the critically acclaimed anime Samurai Champloo.
Nujabes also collaborated with Japanese rapper Shing-02 on a series of songs, most noticed the Luvsic series wich became a success. the first 3 parts of Luvsic came out between 2003 and 2004, with part 3 being a part of Nujabes sophomore album Modal Soul. The series explain the stages of love, with part 1 being falling in love, part 2 being about having your lover by your side, and part 3 about marriage.
Nujabes and J Dilla both have a sound that combines hip hop and jazz, but where Nujabes is more atmospheric J Dilla’s sound is more raw.
J Dilla came to work with many big stars in the hip hop scene like Q-Tip, Common, and Pharcyde. He brought a unique sound to hip hop and showed a different and more peaceful side of Detroit than that of ICP and Eminem.
Nujabes came to put Japan on the map in the hip hop industry with his unique sound that still had a few hints of where his influence are from. He took on J Dilla’s style, but instead of copying it he made his own twist to make it sound unique.
Personally both J Dilla and Nujabes are dear to me, because they are able to take samples and make them sound so atmospheric and emotional.
Unfortunately the last connection between the 2 is their early passing. J Dilla died in ’06 in Los Angeles as a 32 year old and Nujabes in 2010 as a 36 year old. 3 days before his death Dilla released his first solo album called Donuts which got amazing reviews all around. After Nujabes death Shing02 released part 4, 5, and 6 of Luvsic. Part 4 is about growing old together, 5 about losing your loved one to death, and 6 about reuniting in heaven.
That was an end to a chapter of 2 amazing producers but their music lives on, if you have not heard anything from either of them I strongly surgest looking some of their projects up, you wont be disappointed.