This past Sunday, my cousin came to the Island and, as is tradition, we went bar hopping. There are only like 4 bars around here, so it was more like a short hop, but we got nice and toasty. Whenever we drink together, hip hop and lists  inevitably come up; typically after he and I lament the drudgery that will be the Jets season.

During this latest session, we got into an in-depth conversation about 90’s r&b that transitioned into a B.B.D. roasting session, which got us onto best producers. He asked me who were my top 5, which is like the “how bout those yankees” of hip-hop. I love production, so I was way too eager to even begin the conversation. I blurted out:

  1. Madlib
  2. Dilla
  3. Nujabes
  4. Timbaland
  5. DJ Premier

I have mulled over this list for many years—in fact, I’m still nervous about saying I think weirdo Madlib is the best out loud. However, what shocked me was not that my cousin affirmed the Beat Konducta choice, but that he never heard of Nujabes. For us millennials anime enthusiasts, nerds, pop culture fiends, and fans that came of age in the 2000’s, Samurai Champloo and Nujabes are household names. Unfortunately, there are still people who have not heard the gospel of Nujabes in all of its splendor.

I’m not going to bore you with his life story, but just know that Nujabes is a highly influential producer from Japan. His work combined jazz and hip-hop, alongside traditional eastern musical tradition in unique and beautiful ways. Unfortunately, he left the world too soon.  I cannot stress how much his music means to me on a personal level, which is why I’m so excited to share this week’s playlist.

I have collected a number of my favorite Nujabes tracks together to help start you down the righteous path. Check it out and let me know what you think.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of the embed, apple music hella dumb.