Mixing and mastering is a job only suitable for the strategic engineer. Creative enterprise and artistic exaltation is the job of the artist. Matching these two together is an oddity, but can either produce pretentious humility or awe-inspiring demonstrations.
Fusing the right side of the brain with the left can spur confused, often odd creations. When the common man approaches this daunting task, sometimes an odd or dull piece of film or sound is made.
That is why once someone like a record producer or Disc Jockey can create something beautiful, not only is it a testament to human capability but somewhere along the line, there was a supernatural force involved.
Image from genius.com
This transcendence can be felt by listening to the music itself. Producers found their right niche once a part of God came into the process. Once the music was exposed, listeners became entranced by their magic. As a result, the listeners became fans, and the fans eventually became their predecessors.
An insurmountable amount of producers and musicians recall Nujabes or J Dilla being their initial inspirations. What these two did, independently, shifted the limelight of Hip-Hop music. Rappers and musicians in the upper-American music echelon, such as Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco, had mentioned J Dilla as their inspiration and paid their indefinite respects to him.
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The generations of ‘Jazz-Hop’ musicians, such as brandon* and Sinitus Tempo all mentioned Nujabes as their first inspiration for their pursuit in music. Nujabes also tore the barrier between the sounds of the east and west, trampling down all doubts and manifesting achievement and inspiration.
For this piece, I wanted to pay my respects to the greats that changed my perspective on music.
As an early adolescent, these two taught me that Hip-Hop held more potential than Gucci Mane positioned under a funnel of fluttering dollar bills, or aggressive overtones accustomed to gritty and perverted nature.
I found that Hip-Hop music can be enchanting, subversive, nonchalant, and poignant. As Nujabes seamlessly entangled genres of Jazz, Trance, and Funk together with Hip-Hop, J Dilla conquered the art of MPC construction, mastering the process of looping and sampling.
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These two introduced projects of impeccable trajectory and pushed the boundaries further for future artists to tackle. Nujabes held the grasp of open ears with singles like Feather and the Luv(sic) series but carried the commitment of fans with songs like Battlecry, Counting Stars, and Imaginary Folklore.
J Dilla was noticed early on for his work with groups such as A Tribe Called Quest and Tha Pharcyde but became a prophetic voice for those who manage to grab his beat tapes and instrumental works.
Being introduced to their music was the greatest experience for me as an avid music listener, and for that, I want to wish Seba Jun and James Yancey a Happy Birthday, and may they rest in peace and power.
Image from artstation.com (Illustrated by James Easterly)