The Love(sic) Hexalogy:

A Posthumous Love for Music

Words: Ozzy Wagenseil 
December 11, 2022

“Love defies formula, it borders on insanity and spirituality. No matter how slim the chances, once you meet the love of your life, you might end up creating something that may outlast your lifetime…”

These words written by Shing02 encapsulate his album, Luv(sic) Hexalogy, in its totality. In a partnership with Japanese hip-hop producer Nujabes, Shing02—widely acknowledged as “one of the godfathers of lofi”—released six songs that interweave their discographies as either singles or albums. In 2015, the final part of the series “Luv(sic) Grand Finale,” was released, along with the cumulative LP.

Nujabes and Shing02 first decided to collaborate in 2001. After listening to some instrumentals together, Shing02 was taken aback by one in particular. The drum pattern was taken from the song Dirty Feet by the Daly-Wilson Big Band, and the melody was taken from a jazz-piano piece titled “Minerva’s Owl” by Aki Takase. Shing02 decided to write this rap as dedicated to the goddess of music, with lines like “See ain't no mystery, the colors that we mix will set the mind free Let the blind see beyond harmony!” and “Yo, 'cause my beat plus your melody Makes me speak of L.O.V.E. eloquently so evidently.” This song was titled Luv(sic), a play on the word “lovesick” combining “Luv” and the Latin term “sic,” meaning something that was not meant to be. The song was released in 2001 and featured on Hydeout Collections Vol. 1, a compilation album by Nujabes and other artists, along with the sequel.

On September 11th, 2001, Shing02 was supposed to fly from Tokyo to California, as he was working on an album of his own, but the terrorist attacks that day prevented that from happening. As the entire world seemed to shut down for the next few days, Nujabes sent Shing02 a new beat that he was working on. This beat used the same drum sample from the Daly-Wilson Big Band, but with a different melody. The melody samples the song “Qualquer Dia” by Ivan Lins, a Brazilian pop song with a distinct piano riff. Nujabes samples the piano riff twice for the beat: once where the piano is playing regularly and the other where it has faded out in the track.  During this uncertain time for the world, Shing02 was inspired to use this beat to write a sequel to Luv(sic). He decided to dedicate the song to “someone he lost touch with.” The first line came naturally to him: “Once again now…” The lyrics highlight that life can be full of twists and turns, but as long as there is music and love, there is a chance for healing. The single was released in 2002 and also featured in Hydeout Collection Vol. 1 as the last track.

By this time, Nujabes and Shing02 had enjoyed collaborating, especially in the creation of Luv(sic) part 2. . Thus, they wanted to make another part of the series. Nujabes sampled the same drum beat from the Daly-Wilson Big Band but used another piano melody from the song Tens (Calmaria) by Nana Caymmi, another Brazilian singer. When Shing02 received the beat, he decided to focus more on the power of music, structuring his three verses in different aspects. The first verse describes loving music deeply and cherishing the intimacy it creates. The second focuses on the perseverance and deeper meaning of life, bearing through the hard times with music. Finally, the third verse brings it all together, depicting that no matter how much time passes, even if music changes and develops, that special healing sound will be there through thick and thin. Luv(sic) part 3 was released through Nujabes’ album Modal Soul. The album version only contains the first two verses, whereas the extended version was leaked before the release. However, it was later remastered to be on the Luv(sic) Hexalogy. In February 2010, Shing02 released his own rendition of Luv(sic) part 3 on his YouTube channel. This rendition was dedicated to Jeff Resureccion, a longtime fan of Shing02 and Nujabes, who sadly passed away from cancer in January 2010. Unfortunately, this would not be the only loss throughout the Luv(sic) journey.

Around 2008, a few years after the first three parts were released, Shing02 and Nujabes decided to add another three parts to the series. Shing02 was hesitant at first, as he was satisfied with the first three songs and the praise they had received from their fans. However, Shing02 challenged Nujabes that he would do it if he produced three beats that Shing02 could not refuse to rap over. Right away, Nujabes sent him the beats to what would be parts 4 and 5. The beat samples for the last three parts are unknown but are speculated to sample “Que Maravilha” by Osmar Milito, a Brazilian pianist, and once again, the drum beat is taken from the Daly-Wilson Big Band. For the lyrics, Shing02 raps about love between two people. The chorus reflects the time spent with this love, with lyrics like “March to the drum, play a fool like April May the best dance in a Juno bridal…” and space-themed lines such as “Meet me halfway from Mars to Venus Beep beep, the chase is on between us.” The single was released on July 7th, 2011.

However, a tragedy occurred between the making of parts 4 and 5. On February 26th, 2010, Nujabes died in a traffic accident in Tokyo at only 36 years old. Shing02 was finishing his first verse for part 5 when he heard the news. Just months after the passing of Jeff Resureccion, and now hearing the death of one of his best friends, Shing02 was devastated. However, he decided to put his feelings into his writing, and Part 5 was the vent he needed. Already, part 5 had a darker melody than the previous parts. Even Nujabes himself was hesitant on making this beat because of the contradiction to the more upbeat melodies, but Shing02 had insisted. The drum beat is, of course, from the Daly-Wilson Big Band, and the melody was sampled from Nujabes' record collection. It is still unknown what song he used for Part 5. With this darker tone, Shing02 lamented death for this part. Shing02 stated on his FaceBook that his first verse was dedicated to Jeff Resureccion, as evidenced by lines such as “In your last breath you told me, that you had to go Cause it pained you so Oh I loved you so much so.” However, there is a subtle reference to Nujabes with the line “But the fact is you could never practice Getting blind-sided and eating the windshield Endless field of shards of glass,” referring to Nujabes’ fatal car accident. The single was released on December 26th, 2012.

In the spring of 2010, Shing02 visited Nujabes' old record store in Tokyo. Takumi, the manager at the time,  told Shing02 that there was a beat recorded and named on Nujabes' phone on the scene of the accident. The beat was titled “Luv(sic) Grand Finale.” Shing02 immediately got to work finishing the sample and beat. He completed it with help from producer Uyama Hiroto, carefully replicating the simple drum beats from the Daly-Wilson Band, but mixing in a way that would make Nujabes proud. The melody is sampled from Choro Das Aguas by Ivan Lins, the same artist who was sampled for Luv(sic) part 2. The result is a beat that sounds dreamlike, and heavenly. In his lyrics, Shing02 accepts that although Nujabes has passed, the music he has created will forever live on. Shing02 puts it best with the last line of the song: “Gotta finish what we started, so I cut this tape As our records will stay on rotate.” As the song draws to a close, there is applause and cheering, finally ending the six-part series. This single was released on February 26th, 2013, on the third anniversary of Nujabes' passing.

On December 9th, 2015, Hydeout Productions released the Luv(sic) Hexalogy, combining all six parts as well as various remixes and instrumentals. The vinyl release of the compilation album includes a notebook containing lyrics and notes from Shing02, giving the whole story and producing details of each part of the song. Shing02 continues to keep Nujabes’ memory alive by playing his music, along with the other artists at Hydeout Productions. The hexalogy once started off as a love letter to hip-hop and music, but eventually turned into a lasting memorial for an influential producer of lofi hip-hop, and the love that is associated with these beats and rhymes lives on today.






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