Nujabes had a major impact on the hip-hop community in his native Tokyo. A record store owner, label founder, DJ, and producer, Nujabes -- born Seba Jun, or "Nujabes" backward -- released nearly two dozen singles and a handful of albums that displayed his knack for nuanced, sample-laced beats.
His debut album, Metaphorical Music, was released in 2003. Other highlights included his soundtrack work for the anime show Samurai Champloo, spread across a pair of 2004 releases, and 2005's Modal Soul, on which he was joined by Terry Callier for an update of "Ordinary Joe." In 2010, at the age of 36, Nujabes died in a traffic accident. The compilation Modal Soul Classics II, as well as productions by Funky DL, Abstrakt Idea, and Ta-Ku, among many other artists, were made in tribute to him. The posthumous Nujabes album Spiritual State was issued in 2011. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi