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Grimsley student in jeans holding his phone playing lo fi hip hop on Spotify

Catch the Beat: Praise for Legendary Chillhop

Artists Nujabes and Shing02 engineer the chill sounds of Lo-Fi Hip-Hop.

By Jake Acosta

Jan. 29, 2024

Production and instrumentals are seen as the spine of music, essential for creating a song. Hip-Hop is prominent in the world of production, especially for the kind of samples and methods that were utilized to make the music.


Amidst this soulful atmosphere, one producer stands out in the realm of jazz-rap, using samples from across the globe and flipping them in a way that no other could even imagine. Nujabes, a Japanese record producer and audio engineer, has left a lasting influence on every corner of hip-hop.


Pronounced noo-jaa-buhz, he has achieved this legacy despite only releasing two studio albums during his lifetime. From his early mixtapes he released through cassettes, to his first studio album Metaphorical Music (2003), and even working on a soundtrack for a widely beloved anime, Samurai Champloo (2004), to his eventual death in 2010, Nujabes has left a legendary mark on hip-hop forever.


Jun Seba Yamada, known by stage name Nujabes, was a hip-hop producer who worked through the early and late 2000s and embraced a jazz-centered, hip-hop sound mostly through sampling. Nujabes’ sound is warm and reassuring, focusing on intricacy and making the most with the depth of his samples. These elements of his sound are what makes most hip-hop fans deem him as the godfather of lofi.

The subgenre of LoFi Hip-Hop embraces a softer and cleaner sound, usually through instrumental beats featuring no vocal performance. This is commonly regarded as “chillhop”. 

Nujabes pioneered this sound and generally did it better than anyone ever has, expressing and communicating exactly how he felt through these instrumentals. Oftentimes when he would have MC’s on his tracks, they would translate into words exactly what Nujabes was aiming for regarding the emotion of the beat. And Nujabes brought the best out of everyone he worked with, one MC in particular being Shing02.


Shingo Annen, known by his stage name Shing02, is a Japanese MC and record producer who worked primarily with Nujabes while Nujabes was still alive, even releasing a posthumous record they had worked on together, titled Luv(sic) Hexalogy (2015).

Shing02 and Nujabes have been working together since 2001, their first track together titled Luv(sic), which features a young Nujabes introducing Shing02 to his production potential with the best he had at the time. 

From there, Nujabes went on to further emphasize how meticulous his beat- making process was, and also went on to create 5 more parts to the Luv(sic) series, excluding remixes and alternate versions. These versions were never released together until 2015.

Five years after Nujabes died in 2010, Shing02 released Luv(sic) Hexalogy under Nujabes’ name. This album compiled of every song in the Luv(sic) series (parts 1-6) along with remixes and alternate versions of every track, as well as the additional song Perfect Circle and its instrumental.


Luv(sic) Hexalogy is beloved by hip-hop fans of all kinds for its peace-inducing, universal tone. Shing02 writes on the tracks about previous loves/friends in his life that have passed away, how they changed his life and his devotion to them through music and everyday being, along with giving thanks to the current friends that surround him.

This along with the insanely deep instrumentals from Nujabes that bleed solace and appreciative reminiscence, the match couldn’t be any more perfect for such a given message and composition within a song. This is done all throughout Luv(sic) Hexalogy.


Luv(sic) pt 2 emphasizes this perspective through writing. On this track, Shing02 writes about a late lover from the past and how they surfed through life together, writing that he and she couldn’t have met at a better time even if they planned it. He narrates their relationship stages, and how they developed their love for each other, and then her eventual passing and his gratitude to have had the opportunity to to know her.


On the other hand, Luv(sic) pt 4 brings perhaps the deepest Nujabes instrumental ever done in his career, with the utilization of his signature drum break being the structure for his soul-lifting samples of piano and sax. 

The way he includes record scratching to enable Shing02 to begin rhyming, and then follows it up with an ethereal saxophone sample that drives the main melody is something no one else can do, at least in the same way.

Nujabes has left a lasting impression on hip-hop fans of all kinds and of all ages. Even people who wouldn’t consider themselves as hip-hop fans give their praises to Nujabes. 

Whether it’s because of his intricacy or consistent depth, or because listening to one of his beats feels like you’re talking to him face-to-face, or you just like chillhop, Nujabes has brought cultures around the world together in celebration of the most beautiful form of poetry the world has to offer, hip-hop.

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