Despite being born on opposite sides of the world, James Yancey and Jun Seba have several important things in common.
First, they were born on the exact same day; February 7, 1974. (Yancey in Detroit, Seba in Tokyo.)
Second, they both became highly influential hip-hop producers. (Yancey under the name J Dilla, Seba under the name Nujabes, an anagram of Jun Seba.)
Third, they both died in their thirties. (J Dilla at age 32 of a rare blood disorder, Nujabes at 36 in a car accident.)
Finally, they were both memorialized by Australia’s Ta-ku, who paid tribute to his two main influences by creating a track per day in their honour. The resulting compilations, “50 Days for Dilla” and “25 Nights for Nujabes,” are both worth a listen, but for some reason, this particular track just won’t stop playing in my head.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. The piano sample. Taken from the “Eternal Sunshine” soundtrack, it’s reminiscent of the piano samples that Nujabes often used in his own music.
2. The drum sample. Taken from a song by funk legends Tower of Power, it’s light and laid back, but complex and interesting.
3. No lyrics. Producers/DJs like Nujabes and Dilla don’t communicate through lyrics, so it’s fitting that Ta-ku’s memorials to them are purely instrumental.
Recommended listening activity:
Deciding whose faces would be carved into your musical Mount Rushmore.