Rocking Retro: Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers

By name and public persona alone, ODB is probably the most well-known of the Wu Tang Clan, and his untimely death had nothing to do with it.  He was always known as the unstable one, but as time wore on, we all learned that wasn’t an act; Ol’ Dirty Bastard was crazy, and his unlawful antics, which landed him in jail many times, probably were the undoing of his once-productive career.

Long before things went out of control, ODB released the RZA-produced Return to the 36 Chambers, his first and best solo outing.  The taste of his psychotic brain we received on the Clan’s classic debut is in full form here – his rhymes are slurred, sporadic, sometimes incomprehensible, and always entertaining.  When he hits gold, it’s always hilarious, witty, unnerving.  At times we find ODB atonal, a-rhythmic, and unable to successfully put together a rhyme scheme.  Occasionally it sounds less like an established rapper and more like a drug addict’s clever tirade (and it probably was, in all honesty).  But you don’t come to ODB looking for the best spitin’ in the world – you come for the ride, and with party anthems like “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” no doubt it’s a fun one.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Shimmy Shimmy Ya

Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Baby C’mon

Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Raw Hide

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