A presence like no other we’ve seen in Hip-Hop, whether he was referred to as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus, Osirus, he was one of the most prominent names in Hip-Hop for nearly two decades. With his memorable lyricism and the ability to contribute infectious hooks to some of music’s best known hits, ODB had a sound that was unique, authentic and distinct. He had the ability to not only captivate his audience with some of the most outrageous rhymes and style, as one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, ODB definitely stood out and is definitely etched in history as one of the most controversial, hilarious, and wildly talented rappers of all time.
We first heard ODB in 1993 in one Wu-Tang’s earliest hits Protect Your Neck, he went on to appear in many of Wu-Tang’s most legendary hits such as Shame On A N**ga, and Triumph. His GRAMMY-nominated debut album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, spawned hit after hit, from Brooklyn Zoo to Shimmy Shimmy Ya. Even if you go into any club or lounge to this very day, and you hear “Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Shimmy Yam, Shimmy Yim“, you know a party’s about to get started. ODB also appeared in the remix to Mariah Carey’s Fantasy which became a number one single across various charts in late 1995.
ODB’s career did not come without controversy. There are a select few of us that remembers him riding in a limo with his children, decked out in fashionable digs — heading to the welfare office to pick up his check. There was also that time he rushed on the stage at the GRAMMYs to announce that he brought a nice suit because he thought the Wu-Tang was going to win and left us with the memorable line, “Wu-Tang is for the children”. (The original I’mma let you finish…) and not to mention, that was the same day he saved the life of a 4-year-old girl involved in a car accident and visited the little girl various times under different aliases.
1995 wasn’t only the year of ODB, he went on to collaborate with JAY Z, Busta Rhymes, and in the GRAMMY-nominated hit Ghetto Superstar alongside Mya and Pras (from the Fugees). His hits Got Your Money and Cold Blooded had the game bumping into the new millenium.
ODB passed away on November 11, 2004 and left a void in Hip-Hop that has yet to be filled. We miss ODB simply because there will never be another like him. He spoke his mind, he carried himself with a degree of swag that you just don’t see anymore. He was apart of many of our childhoods and reminds us of a time when Hip-Hop was 90% authentic and real: When you were familiar with the rappers because their rhymes were aligned with their personas. Whether you loved him or hated him, he stood out and is cemented as a legend.
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