17 years ago today, the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard released his debut album Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. The Grammy-nominated album proved that Dirt McGurt, Big Baby Jesus, ODB, ‘The Osirus Of This Shit’, or whatever you personally chose to refer to him as, was an important addition to not only the legendary supergroup Wu-Tang Clan that he hailed from, but the hip-hop world in general. As we salute yet another one of our fallen soldiers—who died 8 years ago on November 2004—VIBE rounded up 15 of ODB’s wildest, most hilarious, and all around greatest career moments. Rest In Power, God…—Keenan Higgins
The moment that started it all for Dirty. When Wu-Tang Clan dropped this group album in 1993, they not only gave us one of the dopest hip-hop albums that we’ve ever heard, but they also unleashed a personality in ODB that neither the hip-hop world nor America was probably ready for. Shining moments from ODB include “Protect Ya Neck” and “Shame On A Nigga.”
Wu-Tang proved that they could rock a R&B track as well as the hardcore stuff. ODB’s verse in this SWV classic is limited to a few bars, but his “OOOOWWOOOOOH” intro onto the track is probably the most memorable, and became a signature for the MC.
If it’s one thing ODB is good for, that’s a reliable rant. Never mind what he’s even saying in this particular instance, just peep his shoe game—or lack thereof! Hilarious is one of the many words that come to mind. That, and dirty.
Finally we get to the album at hand! When ODB finally did go solo on March 28, 1995, a lot of people didn’t expect the Wu-Tang funnyman to actually deliver as well as he did. The album—which even earned him a Grammy nod—featured cuts like “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and the hard-hitting “Brooklyn Zoo" (seen below), showing everyone that the joke was on us the entire time. Jokes aside, homie could definitely spit.
When pop queen Mariah Carey decided to go urban & do a hip-hop remix to her mega-hit “Fantasy,” her record label was a bit iffy about ODB being the guest rapper—thinking the move would tarnish her career. Luckily for us, the duet got made. To this day it still remains as one of the hottest collaborations by a rapper and singer in music history.
Many have tried, but none have mastered the drunken freestyle the way ODB did on this episode of Yo! MTV Raps. Although inaudible at times, it was still an ill freestyle. In his words: The Drunken Master Style!
“Why wouldn’t you want to get free money?!”
ODB asked this question to the thousands of MTV viewers watching from home, and it solidified him as the wackiest motherfucker in the rap game at the time. The dude literally had his kids and MTV cameras up in a limo headed to pick up his welfare check. If that ain’t gangsta, we don’t know what is.
It’s always great when we see any of the Wu-Tang brothers together. In this interview specifically, we see ODB & Method Man dropping some real knowledge. This is the ultimate look into the mind of Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
Although his presence on this Wu-Tang follow-up album was minimal, the sole track he contributed to—aside from a few verses on other songs—was classic Dirt McGirt.
Less of a speech and more of an interruption, Dirty rushed the stage during folk singer Shawn Colvin’s Song Of The Year win at the 1998 Grammys to make light of the fact that he bought expensive clothes in expectations to win Best Rap Album with Wu-Tang (given to Puffy’s No Way Out album). In one of his most memorable quotes, Dirty says, "Wu-Tang is for the children...Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best!" This was the original ‘Kanye VMA moment’ before we even knew who Kanye West was.
Fugees native Pras' infectiously catchy solo tune from ‘98 was a good look for ODB. Not only was it a hit both in the states and internationally, it kept money coming in while he was dealing with his frequent legal problems at the time. Besides, the name of the track was the perfect title for ODB himself.
Going by ‘Jesus’ this day, one of his many aka’s, when ODB appeared on “LIVE With Carson Daly” (a year before it officially became TRL), he gave his humble opinion on the government. While claiming that they killed both B.I.G. and Tupac, he urged the audience to “keep it real.” The most memorable piece of this clip would hands down be him removing his tooth before starting his rant. Now that’s real!
Just off the album cover alone, you knew this was gonna be a fun album. The hit “Got Your Money” with Kelis helped propel this album into gold status in just 3 months, but it also was collectively a great hip-hop album in itself.
"Cracker Jack" produced by RZA:
Using yellow subtitles, a Soul Train line, and clips from the 1975 Blaxploitation film Dolemite, ODB came with a left-field video that was not only hilarious to look at, but insanely addicting to watch. This could arguably be Dirty's best and most memorable video. It also didn’t hurt having a fro’d-out young & sexy Kelis in the video.
ODB switched it up on us with this collaboration with ‘horrorcore’ crew Insane Clown Posse. This one is definitely not for the kids!