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Early in 1995, Ol' Dirty B****d (ODB) became the second of the main nine Wu-Tang Clan members to release their solo album when he dropped "Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". Just as Meth' had with "Tical", this record features The RZA as the main producer behind the release and is supported by many of the Clan members joining him with their own verses on his tracks. Known for being a real oddball to the group, he came to show that he really had MC skills and in spite of his persona was able to put it to good use when putting music on wax.
Seen as a dirty version of Biz Markie, ODB comes to bring humour back into Hip Hop even when Hardcore Rap had taken over. From the skit introduction at the start he announces influences of Rick James and Blowfly as sources of inspiration. Of course he shows this through the content of the music with James' Naked Funk and the dirty humour of Blowfly, but there's much more to be found in his music. As its often difficult to get a grip on what exactly he does here - throwing the song-writing rulebook out of the window and making the most anti-commercial, rhyme-scheme-lacking record there could ever be - its only for a select few.
Through this release he's really able to let his personality be known in a way that he couldn't quite manage on "Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)". His trademark spluttering rhymes come through most notably in the opening song, "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and from that point it run through the rest of the release. If you want a taste of what's to be found on the album then at least listen to this first, if you don't like it then there's not a chance you'll be able to stomach the rest of the record.
The RZA's off-beat approach to putting tracks together fits right in with the style which Ol' Dirty takes when rhyming. The rapper is completely unpredictable and it means it extremely difficult to make him keep to traditional production with a rigid structure. Because of this, it seems perfect that such an accomplished beat maker supports him and knows how to manage the erratic way in which he throws down his lyrics on the mic(rophone). The production appears to be a lot more stripped-down than had been heard on "36 Chambers" and it's understandable that this is done as whatever Dirty does, he's able to outshine efforts from all others.
It appears as though ODB's raps are all improvised freestyles. Although he had to have had some idea of what he was going to do before he stepped into to the booth, as he frequently half-sings and half-raps lyrics and keeps changing subject so drastically, it sounds as though there's no logic within him and that he's got ideas that no others would be able to understand. The only time when things sound rehearsed is on "Cuttin' Headz". For the track he and RZA bounce lines off each other and it just doesn't have the same energy that cuts such as "The Stomp" have on them. It can't be said that it takes away from the quality of the overall release, but is certainly something which stands out on the record. "Snakes" is another track where it appears that the guests have disturbed ODB's vision as a gang of MCs pile in around him, but with tracks like "Dirty Dancin'" and "Raw Hide" he shows how he's able to still carry his freaky style with him when others try to dominate the track.
It would be difficult to compete with Dirty's performance on "Brooklyn Zoo". On the cut the jovial rapper suddenly gets into a rage said to have been initiated by an argument before he got onto the mic. He shows an ability to handle himself well even when he's in a serious bad mood as he brings quality rhymes inspired by the flows of Big Daddy Kane. Although he is still refreshing with his out-of-this world psychedelic originality, hints of where he must of learned his rhymes seep through in areas such as that one and early on "Goin' Down" as he spits lines from "Rapper's Delight" on a track which has no structure to it at all.
It seems as though it would be easy to criticise what's found here. None of what you get from this album is in any way conventional and there's no way that any others would be able to follow him up with such a style. Ol' Dirty B****d is completely original in all that he does and he's sure to let it be known with the music he throws down here. He shows that he can be a raw spitter with "Damage", but then calms things down as he decides to just sing a love song for "Drunk Game". There's a lot to get a hold of with this album and if you take the time to get into him you're bound to be pleased by the quality of this album.
This is a high-standard release from ODB. It's really not for all and is great to have such a quality about it. While those who enjoy conventional Rap where MCs apparently take the time to write sophisticated bars of fury may be put off by how he can make a cult classic with clear improvisation throughout, he should be praised for an ability to make it work when so much seems to be going against him. It's a record to look out for and seems to even be alternative by Wu-Tang Clan standards.
2. "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" **Five Stars**
3. "Baby, C'mon" **Five Stars**
4. "Brooklyn Zoo" **Five Stars**
5. "Hippa to da Hoppa" **Five Stars**
6. "Raw Hide" (feat. Raekwon and Method Man) **Five Stars**
7. "Damage" (feat. Killah Priest) **Five Stars**
8. "The Stomp" **Five Stars**
9. "Goin' Down" **Four Stars**
10. "Drunk Game" (Sweet Sugar Pie) **Four Stars**
11. "Snakes" (feat. Killah Priest, RZA, Masta Ace and Buddah Monk) **Four Stars**
12. "Brooklyn Zoo II" (Tiger Crane) (feat. Ghostface Killah) **Five Stars**
13. "Protect Ya Neck II The Zoo" (feat. Brooklyn Zoo, Prodigal Sunn, Killah Priest and 60 Second Assassin) **Five Stars**
14. "Cuttin' Headz" (feat. RZA) **Four Stars**
15. "Dirty Dancin'" (feat. Method Man) **Five Stars**
16. "Harlem World" **Five Stars**
Well now, Seeming like a good album to buy , Ol' Dirty Bastard being from the Wu Tang Clan, I decided to get it. How wrong was I??? It starts off dirty and idiotic, being the skit which speaks about him getting ghanaria from some lady. It proceeds then to songs like "I like it raw" which was played on the radio when it was popular, some more irritating ones and others talking/representing people in his town. You actually might like it if you are into music such as Insane Clown Posse, not being the same but irritating. I am not bashing him completely there are maybe two songs that are nice but still no lyrical or hip hop devotion in them. All in all, this album wasn't great, and quite disapointing so I wouldn't strongly recommend it. Peace
Ol' Dirtys 1995 debut "Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version" is Wu-Tang Clan music but from Ol' Dirtys point of view. On this album the production is what we expect from the Rza but the rhymes are a little short of Ol' Dirtys capabilities. The front cover says it all really.... I want money. The picture of Ol Dirty on a welfare card conveys the message he brings; he doesn't want to get by anymore.. he wants to be rich. Who doesn't? As an album this is a great experience but as an album to show off ones emceeing skills Ol Dirty lacks. One thing us for sure though.... Ol' Dirty Bastard is one crazy mother......