One evening, I walked into Fort St George—a bar that's only a few-minutes walk from the International District Link station and serves Japanese “comfort food”—and heard a hiphop track whose beauty shattered my heart almost immediately. It’s called “Lux (sic,), Part 3,” and features Shing02, a Japanese rapper whose style I can only describe as aspiring to the condition of an abstract painting. The track, which was produced by Nujabes and released in 2005, has a rippling piano loop set to a flow of shamelessly melancholy strings and a bass that pulls hopeless feelings out of the depths of your being. After learning the producer’s name from the bartender, Matt Pechar (who now, sadly, lives in Vietnam), I looked him up on the web and learned he was killed in a car accident that happened on Tokyo’s Shuto Expressway in 2010. Those who say the beautiful are not yet born are wrong. The beautiful are always dead and gone. Always.
Tonight, Shing02 celebrates the genius and gorgeous music of the late Nujabes at Neumos.