In terms of rap super groups, The Wu-Tang Clan may have been the most legendary collective to ever do it. About has named them “the No. 1 greatest hip hop group of all time”, Rolling Stone has dubbed them “the best rap group ever”, and NME has called them one of the most influential groups of the last decade. Even with their overwhelming popularity as a group, many of the nine original members are considered to be legends in their own right: names like Ghostface Killah, Method Man and RZA are still highly respected and relevant in hip-hop today. Since the release of their single, “Protect Ya Neck”, in 1993, the group has released seven studio albums, 23 compilation albums, and dozens of other projects both as a group and as independent artists. RZA is reported tohave said that The Wu-Tang Clan has sold over 40 million records worldwide, including the independent releases of members’ solo projects. Three of their seven albums have achieved platinum status from the RIAA.
While each Wu-Tang member brought their own unique style and flavor to the table, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s presence always stood out in the group. In various interviews, other members of The Clan remember him as a driving force to the group who used his energy to elevate the collective. Aside from his extensive and successful body of solo work, ODB’s eccentric behavior and legal troubles made him something of a “folk hero”, according to The New Yorker. ODB passed away just a couple days before his 36th birthday from what was ruled to be as an accidental drug overdose, as his autopsy revealed cocaine and tramadol to be in his system at the time of his death. Still, 36 years was enough for Ol’ Dirty Bastard to have seven children along with a ton of crazy stories, which have been retold by friends and family throughout the years.
Although the wild side of ODB is often what is portrayed through the media, certain stories that have surfaced during his time are able to reflect the compassionate elements of his character. In 1998, Ol’ Dirty Bastard was recognized by the media for an act of heroism that resulted in the rescue of a four-year-old girl. As Maxine Lovell and her daughter, Maati, were crossing the street to a vegetable stand, Maati was hit by a 1996 Ford Mustang. After rolling off the hood of the car, she disappeared under the vehicle. ODB and his associates had been recording at the nearby Papa Wu’s Brooklyn Sounds recording studio at the time. After seeing the incident happen, ODB and his crew rushed to lift the car and rescue the little girl. Although the girl was mostly unharmed, she was taken to the hospital and treated for second-degree burns she sustained from making contact with the car’s engine. ODB later visited the girl in the hospital to see if she was alright, using a fake name during his visits. He was later recognized as ODB by the parents’ other daughter, Kelly.
When asked by Vlad for his funniest ODB story, Inspectah Deck recounted an ordeal that took place at The Elite Ark in Brooklyn. The Wu Tang Clan was scheduled to perform at the venue that night, along with other artists such as Capleton. Deck recalls that during Capleton’s set, people in the crowd were already chanting “Wu Tang”. At some point, Ol’ Dirty Bastard became restless and walked out on stage during Capleton’s set and commandeered the microphone. Inspectah Deck remembers ODB shouting out “Y’all ain’t want to f**kin’ Capleton, y’all wanna hear Wu Tang, right?” Dirty’s actions led to a confrontation between him and Capleton backstage shortly after.
Deck also told Vlad about a similar story about a time when ODB fought Akinyele at a show. Apparently, Akinyele had made claims in the past that Dirty bit his flow, which Deck described as a “wild, drunken monk type style”. This tension between the two came to a head when both Akinyele and ODB both tried to get on the mic at the same time. Neither rapper relented, resulting in a fight between the two that took place on stage as the crowd spectated. The two ended up tussling on the floor in drink puddles for the mic as everyone looked on. Deck notes that the two weren’t as interested in beating each other up as they were in getting control of the microphone, and that no one tried to jump in and break up the fight. Inspectah Deck backs up Dirt, saying the he emerged as the victor in the fight.
In another VladTV interview, rapper Cappadonna describes his most exciting ODB story. Cappadonna says that during a Notorious B.I.G. set somewhere in Brooklyn, Dirty rushed the stage, took the mic from Biggie, and started rapping. Rather than get upset, Big got live and started hyping up Dirt as he took over the performance. Cappadonna says if it were anyone else, they would have gotten “sandwiched”. Cappadonna described another story briefly, saying that Dirty once parked his car on the lawn of Mally Mall’s house, thinking that it was a driveway. When he left, Dirt ran over Mall’s mailbox and dipped out as if it were a hit-and-run, even though everyone knew it was Dirt who did it.
Ghostface Killah and RZA have told similar stories about ODB’s sexual escapades, which seem to describe the same instance. Ghostface says that one day, Dirty was “burning” or had “friction burns” on his penis, but still wanted to have sex. To deal with his situation, Ghostface says that ODB wrapped his d*ck in gauze, put a condom over it, and got busy with his lady-friend. RZA tells the story a little differently, saying that Dirt was dealing with a “sexually transmitted situation” and that he ran out of condoms. Dirt rose to the occasion by tying a rag around his penis as a substitute for protection. Regardless of which story is more accurate, Ol’ Dirty Bastard really lived up to his name on this one.
40 Glocc also has described a few moments he had with ODB in a VladTV interview (although there are many comments on the video accusing 40 Glocc of fabricating the stories). When asked for his best Ol’ Dirty Bastard Story, 40 Glocc described a time when he and ODB were hanging out in the club together. At some point, ODB spilled a little bit of Hennessy from his cup onto Glocc’s new shoes. Glocc says that he told ODB it was okay, but Dirt went out of his way to make amends by dumping the rest of his liquor onto his own head and saying, “Now my sh*t’s f**ked up with you”.
Another ODB story was told to VladTV by rapper and producer Pras. Pras told of a time when Dirty walked into one of Pras’ recording sessions, thinking it was his. Pras says he didn’t know if Dirt was drunk or not, but he says that Dirt didn’t know the state he was in. Apparently, ODB believed he was in New York City at a different studio, when reality he was at a recording studio in California. As Pras was assessing the situation and trying to figure out how to politely get Dirt to leave, Dirt hears a beat that was being looped in the studio and asks for it to be turned up louder. Dirt liked what he heard and told Pras that the beat was hot and that he had to get in on it. After listening to the beat for a while, Pras said that ODB got in the studio and laid a verse down in one take. Right before he recorded, Pras says that he was planning on deleting ODB’s verse, but it turned out to be too hot to take off the record. The track turned out to be Pras’ “Ghetto Supastar”, that features Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Mya. The single peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
In a Thisis50 interview, Wyclef Jean claims that he himself was responsible for recruiting ODB to feature on “Ghetto Supastar”, meaning one of the stories is likely to be untrue. Regardless, Wyclef included one of his own crazy ODB stories in the interview. At an Uptown New York concert, the Wu Tang Clan and The Fugees both were to perform. The Fugees had come to the venue with a small Winnebago, so when Dirty saw it, he allegedly said, “I love The Fugees, I love the girl, but I’m gon’ whip somebody’s a*s today. I want that Winnebago”. The Fugees removed everything they had in the car and let ODB take it. Wyclef said that he didn’t stand in his way because he knew he would be outnumbered if Dirt had the rest of Wu Tang backing him up. Wyclef said that he confronted ODB about the incident later on, but Dirt said he couldn’t remember it happening. Still, Wyclef Jean spoke highly of Ol’ Dirty Bastard throughout the interview, saying that he loved him and that he had “a vibe and a half”.
In another Thisis50 interview, rapper Shyheim is asked if he has any untold Ol’ Dirty Bastard stories. He responds with a short-but-sweet story of how he helped ODB escape what Shyheim describes as a “program”, which was likely referring to some kind of court-ordered drug or behavior program that was mandated after possibly getting convicted of a criminal offense. Shyheim says he was “on the run” in California when ODB called him to come pick him up from the program. Shyheim says that he felt there was no use in trying to talk ODB out of leaving, so he went to go pick him up from where the program was. Shyheim says he hadn’t seen ODB for some time, and that he had gained a lot of weight. On top of the weight gain, ODB had been wearing sunglasses and a hat in an attempt to go “incognito”. When Shyheim pulled up, he circled the block multiple times looking for Dirt without realizing that he had been passing him every time. Shyheim recalls the tense feeling once Dirt was in the car, as they knew he would be going back to jail once the law caught up with him. Still, Shyheim remembers it fondly as a fun memory.
In a video published by 247HH, Raekwon tells a story he remembers when he, ODB, RZA, and a few others did an insane number of push-ups. Raekwon says that the group he was with at the time was in a room smoking angel dust. Angel dust, also known as PCP, is a dissociative anesthetic that can cause hallucinations, distorted perceptions of sounds, and violent behavior. While they smoked angel dust that night, they ended up hyping each other up to do as many push-ups as they could do. Raekwon says that ODB must have done at least 1,100 push-ups that night, and that he was the main individual that was amping everyone up. Raekwon says that he did so many push-ups that night that he flushed the high out of his body, and remembers that night as a positive memory of Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
One of the final stories of ODB’s life shared was shared by his son, Ol’ Dirty Bastard Jr., but it wasn’t exactly lighthearted. In another VladTV interview, Ol’ Dirty Bastard Jr. is asked about the most memorable moment he had with his father, which he explains to be his last moments with his father before he passed. Around the age of 14, ODB Jr. says that he accompanied his father to the studio for his final time on November 13, 2004. Before entering the recording booth, Ol’ Dirty Bastard made his son sit and watch him get high while looking at him dead in the eyes. ODB Jr. recalls his father not wanting to go record, noting that he may have been having visions of what was soon to come.
I was with my cousin, Carl Mason; he was allowed to go into the studio. My father was on the other side; we had to sit in the little couch area. He said, “sit right there and watch me get high”. He didn’t basically say it, but he told me I couldn’t move nowhere, just for that final moments. He didn’t want to go up there anyways, to the studio…. He was seeing things before it happened, like it’s angels around him.
After watching his father get high for the last time, ODB Jr. says that he was whisked away in a limo back to the projects, where his family would receive a call about Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s death shortly after.
In another VladTV interview, Raekwon describes the moment he found out ODB had passed. Raekwon says that after getting the phone call, he broke down crying on the freeway while he was on the way into New York City. He immediately made a detour to the studio where Ol’ Dirty Bastard was at and found him stretched out on the ground when he arrived. Raekwon recounted that ODB had “a face of bravery” on when he died, as if ODB were ready to move on to wherever he went on to.
After his death, ODB still had a couple projects released posthumously, particularly his third studio album, titled A Son Unique. The album was made available for digital download on June 21, 2005. Although many consider his death to be untimely, Ol’ Dirty Bastard left behind a legacy that will continue to influence today’s hip-hop and generations to come.