Steve Ndahigwa’s adaptation of Nujabes’ Letter from Yokosuka is as atmospheric and mellow as the original composition. It feels especially whole with the rap verses— which always complement Nujabes’ instrumentals.
Steve—who records under the name E.T— delivers verses that are both filled with substance and energy. They are like something that Oddisee could write—sharp, sentimental, and full of life. They are nostalgic reminiscings of halcyon days. For E.T, these years are 2006 and 2009.
Nujabes was born ‘Seba Jun’ but produced records under the reverse of his name. He was a Japanese record producer who had a taste for marrying Hiphop and Jazz. The result became a musical dimension that is almost free of time and space. Where his instrumentals play, everything is possible. For Jazzhop lovers, Nujabes is a sort of God. What E.T did on this track is interesting because he fuses the signature nostalgic sound of Nujabes with his look back at the old days.
Now this the type that make you feel like ‘06
When your cousins came to visit for the summer oh shit
Reminiscing lil’ bit, How I wonder
The potential for a youngin’ to be happy for a slumber
This record is a dedication to the artist’s grand father whose role in the artist’s life is pronounced in the line “My pops not around you always came through”. It plays with a hint of sadness but unleashes powerfully in the second verse. The year is now 2009 and there is maturity in persective for the artist which is born from tough realizations. “Never out of reach for a hand; Used to be the kid of the fam; Now they saying preach to the man; I don’ never changed; I don’ grown up”
Lyrically, this track is smooth and solid. It’s almost a shock to think that this is E.T’s first single. What measures even higher is the performance; E.T raps with a confidence that could only be the result of hours of consistent study. And what better way to package the track than to perform it on an instrumental by one of Hiphop’s greatest producers!
For E.T, this is a commendable first single. How he pays tribute to both a legendary producer and his grandfather through a timeless instrumental serves to immortalize the two people even more.