It’s hard to fathom the immensity of fuck Ol’ Dirty Bastard did not give. During his 35 years on the planet earth, the Brooklyn-born relative of the RZA, and founding member of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, has never been shy of the attention. Also known as Ason Unique, out of a collective of microphone swordsmen all with distinctive characters, ODB stood out as the most recognizable, heartfelt, and overbearing act of the bunch. Underneath the wild antics that resulted in multiple legal issues, the one who the RZA considered the “wisest,” had multiple sides to his conflicted personality. Today marks the eighth year of his untimely passing. To commemorate the occasion, XXL looks back at Dirt McGirt, Osirus, Big Baby Jesus, or simply Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s most awesome moments. —Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)
$30,000 for a Half-Ass Verse
While it’s never right to pimp someone’s money for a mediocre service, it always feels superb to know that the loot is right and the work is minimal. In 1999, Ol’ Dirty—who mostly kilt guest appearances—gave away a verse full of ramblings for his collaboration with the Insane Clown Posse's cut "Bitches," off the group's The Amazing Jeckel Brothers. What he probably did in 15 minutes, earned him 30 stacks.
No Father to His Interview Style
Just peep the footage. Nothing else to say, man.
“Woo Hah! (Remix)” with Busta Rhymes
Busta was flexing his eccentricity to the outer realms in ’96, with his catch-you-off-the-guard single “Woo Hah!” To commemorate the occasion properly, he enlisted the equally peculiar Wu-Tang killer Ol’ Dirty for the hit record’s follow up remix. The video finds the two MCs locked in a padded room with crazy outfits, gesturing with motions from all angles and directions. It sparks the idea that a collaborative album from the two could've been a monster.
Hopping on the “Fantasy” Remix with Mariah Carey
Long before she gave birth to twins with a part-time rapper/actor/comedian, and even before it became a requirement for her to feature at least one rapper for every single, Mariah Carey was a franchise player for Columbia. Her decision to include the then bubbling Ol’ Dirty Bastard on the remix for the massive hit “Fantasy,” was a bold move, and an unexpected approach at that. Rugged Osirus on the pinkly lit super single by the biggest pop star of the era was refreshing, and deserved cheers, while executives tried their best efforts to remove the raw.
“We Keeps it Real!”
Quotables galore in this short footage of Dirty dropping knowledge in only ways he can. “You can get out the neighborhood, but you can’t take the neighborhood out of the people.” He might appear odd and reckless at times, but there’s no doubting ODB’s inner knowledge of self.
Picking Up Food Stamps in a Limo
Was he challenging the potential crackdown on the welfare system enforced by the then Clinton administration? Or was it simply a publicity stunt to generate more record sales? Whatever it was, it’s a bold statement. Dirty just never ceased to raise questions.
The first single off Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s acclaimed solo debut Return to the 36 Chambers, “Brooklyn Zoo” exemplified the notion that there was no father to ODB’s style. The nearly four-minute long single consisted of a long, free-flowing verse, with only the unapologetic chorus wrapping up the outro. A raw, rugged, grunge approach to hip-hop, with no sugary R&B hooks to compensate for the mainstream attention, the single still cracked the Billboard 100 at 54, and marked as one of ODB’s biggest single to date.
Return to the 36th Chamber
The second solo brainchild crafted by the then studio hermit RZA, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version was an addition to the growing catalogue of Wu-Tang classics. Stripped-down, minimalist productions, over Dirty’s unprecedented rhyme styles, unexpected vocal drops, and on-and-off ramblings made the album a satiable, soon-to-be East Coast classic. A left-field product that’s more deservingly underground than mainstream, it has surprisingly garnered minor mainstream success thanks to its singles “Brooklyn Zoo,” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.”
ODB Saves a Child
While at a Brooklyn recording studio, Dirty witnessed an accident with Wu-Tang affiliate Twelve O’ Clock, in which a four-year-old girl was hit by a car. Along with several members of his entourage, ODB rescued the child, who was trapped underneath the vehicle. She was alive, with first and second degree burns from the engine. Under a false identity, Dirty frequently visited the hospital to see the girl’s condition, but soon, her parents figured out who he was and alerted the media. Now that’s more heroic than anything a conscious rapper yaps about.
“Puffy is Good, but Wu-Tang is the Best!”
It was a champion moment for hip-hop fans that worshipped the antithesis to glitz and glam represented by Puffy and the Family. Decked out in a suit he “spent a lot of money” on, the most vocal member of the Wu-Tang, stepped up to the stage at the 1998 Grammy Awards, right before Shawn Colvin was given the honor for Song of the Year, and openly stated his discontent of his group not taking home the trophy for Best Rap Album. “When it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best!” commanded ODB. This bum rush stirred national media attention, which became one of Russell Jones’ most recognized moments. Rest in power, Ol’ Dirty Bastard.