Über Ol' Dirty Bastard
Known for his unique delivery, wild-man reputation, and well-publicized run-ins with the law, Wu-Tang Clan member ODB was truly a force to be reckoned with. He rushed the stage at the Grammys, survived assassination attempts, allegedly fathered over a dozen children, and released an impressive catalog of truly original hip-hop joints. Dirty's first solo offering, 1995's Return To The 36 Chambers, showed the world he could easily hold his own, showcasing his bugged-out, no-holds-barred delivery and concepts. After working with a number of other artists such as Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey, ODB returned in '99 to bless us with more of his inimitable magic and otherworldly charisma. The "Got Your Money" single was perhaps his catchiest to date, but still unmistakably Dirty. With a bangin' track provided by the Neptunes (responsible for Noreaga's "Superthug"), ODB brought the ruckus, rapping, shouting, and singing over a thick bassline, ample hand claps, and a female-sung chorus. Unfortunately, his ongoing legal problems finally caught up with him, and Dirty was locked up for a while. Upon his release, things were looking up, thanks to a million dollar record deal from Roc-A-Fella, a Dirt McGirt fashion line, and a VH-1 reality show in the works. Then, in November of 2004, Ol' Dirty Bastard died of a heart attack in a Manhattan recording studio. While the uninitiated or ignorant may have dismiss him as just another lunatic criminal, the fact remains that Russell Jones was one of the most innovative, creative, and important artists in an industry flooded with imitators and wannabes. ODB R.I.P.