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An ODB For All Seasons…

11/18/2008

Big Baby Jesus

Big Baby Jesus

I happened to be riding around the QC with my homeboy Cee the other night. We were chillin’ and talking about life in general and of course the current state of music, especially Hip-Hop. Cee is one those guys that is well-versed in the subject as well as I, so we get into these discussions quite often. Eventually it segued into favorite Emcees that are not with us anymore. I was expounding about Big L, when he promptly dug in his CD case and popped in “Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version“.

Yes the instantaneously vintage Ol’ Dirty debut. Not the world’s first taste of his brand of crazy. It’s quite hard to even attempt to forget the Wu-Tang Clan‘s group debut Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and the standout verses he dropped on

Shame On A N!99a“:

and the incredible whole posse cut

Da Mystery Of Chessboxin’“:


The Dirty Version
just happens to be the most complete and complex taste. (And no, I’m not gonna just post about “Brooklyn Zoo” or “Shimmy, Shimmy Ya“. Both are great songs but that would be too easy and really wouldn’t do ODB or this post any justice.)

Hearing the album after a few years of letting my own copy gather a little dust in the CD case, it was actually refreshing to hear Ason Unique again. I had almost forgotten the signature slurring and the raspy style. The completely awkward randomness of his wordplay that only he could pull off with a believability, oh so lacking in most of today’s Urban Radio Mess or URM. I mean who else in Hip-Hop today could tell you they “Don’t Give A Cripple Crab Crutch” and you instantly knew they wholeheartedly meant that sh!t and not to Kcuf around with them about it?

Certainly not Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane or (shudder at the thought) O.J. Da Juiceman! I don’t understand half of what those three say at all anyway because of their over abundant accents attempting to mask the lack of relevant subject matter. IMO it just can’t compare to an Ol’ Dirty drunken tirade.
ODB is still understandable in his intoxication and you always get more than the gist of what he is relaying to you within the lines of his haze.

Check out

The Stomp“:

for the lucid craziness and that cripple crab line and then

Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)“:

for the type of song your drunk uncle would have made if you put him in a studio with a couple pints of Thunderbird or Ripple (see Fred G. Sandford) and got him to talking about the music he grew up with and just happened to throw on a laid back groove.

After hearing those cuts I realized its not just his flow that makes this a good album. A good portion of credit goes to  RZA‘s soundscape. The production he and his team laid down is more than impressive here and helped to solidify the album’s credibility. I mean in all fairness, once the Wu landed their Industry Historic Group and individual album deals for each member, with the exception of maybe U-God (Golden Armz), they all did quite well with their debuts but for R. Diggs to craft tracks that complemented Dirt McGirt couldn’t have been the easiest of tasks.

Remember that this all took place during a moment in Hip-Hop where the genre was yearning again for the fresh and new sound of that decade but would quickly reject anything even remotely wack. Seriously, do you think half the stuff on any of the major media outlets today would have survived back then. Ok, maybe some but not to the same degree of influx we have right now. I know cause I’m a product of those 80’s and 90’s, so please believe me when I state this, right now most of the music being put out is LAME!

Being the creative opportunist he is, RZA banked on building his success by showcasing that he could take all these different members of one group and with the help two other producers create an individual sound for them all but still keep it within the groups debut album’s sound range. No small feat by any means. Just listening to a Wu members debut album then moving on to another and even another would show the same types of themes within each are there but every song is its own. The same holds true for OBD’s album as well but probably to more of an extreme. Which brings up Point # 3 about the albums complexity. Even the songs that feature other Wu members sound nothing like what they may have been sans Dirty.

Check

Raw Hide“:

featuring Method Man and Raekwon for example.

I’m pretty sure Rae and Meth might have never chosen this type of production for one of their projects but the combination works well and makes me wonder if this was ODB’s idea or RZA’s, because anytime you have to follow someone who’s last stanza in the song states and I quote, “Let me calm down, you n!99az better start runnin’ / Cause I’m comin’, I’m dope like f–kin’ heroin / Wu-Tang Bloodkin, a goblin, who come tough like lambskin / Imagine, gettin shot up with Ol Dirty insulin / {*heavy breathing*} You bound to catch AIDS or somethin’ / Not sayin’ I got it, but n!99a if I got it you got it!! WHAT?!?” {echo til fade} unquote, you had better well be prepared to come correct.
Of course you already know that both Clan members do just that.

I admit I used to write rhymes back in the day, especially around the time period of this album but I would have never likened myself to a Goblin, Insulin or AIDS for that matter. That’s what I love most about ODB. Good, bad or ugly, he spoke his mind. It was crazy. It was fun. Most importantly though, it just plain worked!

I won’t get into all of the zany things Dirt did. I will just gloss over his jail bids, drug use, his second album “N!99a Please!” (which was ok but had such a piecemeal feeling to it, despite the Neptune’s production of the only mainstream hit from it “I Got Ya Money” feat. Kelis, who was just on the verge of obtaining her stardom. After listening once you just had to know there was way too much going on in his life for it to have really been his true vision) and his tribe of kids that he sired with several different women. Not gonna go there…well maybe a little. I’m sure you remember his well televised antics on MTV showcasing his trip to the Welfare Office with a limo being his transport to his infamous hi-jacking of Shawn Colvin‘s award acceptance speech, (Yes I added the links for YouTube just in case you forgot those!)

Ok..moment passed. Sadly, Dirty is gone and there will probably never be anything remotely close in Hip-Hop or life for that matter. I’m only left with his memory and music. It will have to do.
So, in tribute to the Ol’ Dirty Doggy, here is my favorite track from The Dirty Version, if for nothing more than ODB’s genius reference to Kool & the Gang‘s classic “Hollywood Swinging” at the beginning.
The song’s real kicker is he doesn’t take the normal route and just have RZA sample the track. Instead, how he figured out to sing the words instead and actually have it fit and time out perfectly, is still a mystery to me.  But it works. Plus the second verse of this jawn was also used by Dirty for the “America” song that Wu-Tang contributed to the  America Is Dying Slowly LP, part of the Red Hot AIDS Benefit CD series. I give to you

Harlem World“:

Oh, here’s the America vid with the line in it, just in case you didn’t click the YouTube link above.

Need more of a OBD fix that that, well you gotta download em. No streams this time folks. This is meant to be burned to a CD and played end to Ol’ Dirty end.

Downloads:
Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.zip
N!99a Please!.zip

Later,
Square

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