September 11, 2008

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Osirus: The Official Mixtape (January 4, 2005)


I'm disturbed by the photograph that adorns this album cover, as it looks like it was taken while Dirt McGirt was laying in his fucking coffin.

Russell Jones, best known to the hip hop world as Ol' Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan, died of an accidental overdose of cocaine and Tramadol, a prescription painkiller, on November 13, 2004, two days before his thirty-sixth birthday. He collapsed at the Clan's own recording studio, a sign that he was either deep into his work or, at the very least, hanging out with his old friends. Actually, both of those statements might be true: upon his release from prison, Dirty quickly signed with Damon Dash and Roc-A-Fella Records, and was eager to record. (I recall a very bizarre press conference that featured Mariah Carey welcoming Russell home: anybody else remember that?)

Big Baby Jesus set about recording many songs, most of them fragments of concepts that would be fleshed out much later, at a time when ODB wasn't coked out of his fucking mind. At the time of his death, he had completed what was to be his comeback vehicle, A Son Unique, and was in the process of compiling a mixtape to tell the world about the return of Ol' Dirty Bastard. Osirus: The Official Mixtape ended up being that mixtape, and it was completed by Dirty's estate and released posthumously.

This disc of all original material would end up being the final release of all new material by Russell Jones, and unlike what the rest of the world was hoping for, the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan had nothing to do with it. It was slapped together in a rush, in an effort to capitalize on the death of its star (it was released less than two months after his passing) and, ostensibly, to raise some money for the Jones estate, although I'm curious how well that did for the family, considering that nobody actually bought this album.

My theory is that including the word "mixtape" in the fucking title led most rap fans to believe that a download was just fine, thanks. Also, the quality of the music presented may have had something to do with it.

Let's see if I was right.

1. POP SHOTS
DJ Premier and Dirt McGirt? Sure, why the fuck not? It's not Primo's best beat by any stretch of the imagination, but it serves its purpose, and Russell sounds more like an actual emcee than he has since Return To The 36 Chambers (The Dirty Version).

2. DIRTY DIRTY (FEAT RHYMEFEST)
Other than the terrible terrible hook, Mark Ronson's impersonation of a simplified early Rza track is successful, and the pairing of ODB and Rhymefest works brilliantly, which makes perfect sense when you realize that Che was writing Dirt's rhymes at this point in his career.

3. GO GO GO (FEAT BLAH OF BLAHZAY BLAHZAY)
This track floated around on the Interweb as Blahzay Blahzay's update of their own classic, "Danger", on which a very prominent Ol' Dirty Bastard vocal sample was a co-star, before finding new life as this revamped horseshit. I truly believe that drawing comparisons between apples and nuclear war would make for a more productive use of my time.

4. WHO CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN LIKE DIRT?
At this point in time, could Dirt even make it happen like Dirt?

5. HIGH IN THE CLOUDS (FEAT BLACK ROB)
I wouldn't have ever thought to pair Big Baby Osirus with Bad Boy Records stalwart Black Robert, but it's not the worst collaboration that I've ever heard. (Now, that song with Ol' Dirty Bastard and Jordan Knight? It's up there, people!) The problem here is the godawful K-Def beat and Russell's ridiculously stupid rhymes, both of which contribute to a very distracting listening experience.

6. RAHZEL SKIT 1 (FEAT RAHZEL)
Unnecessary, but it's good to see that Rahzel is capable of getting work after separating from the Roots Crew.

7. DIRTY RUN
Meh.

8. STAND UP (FEAT CAPPADONNA)
Cappa is the only Wu-related presence to appear in a rhyming capacity on Osirus (an old Ghostface Killah vocal sample awkwardly appears as the hook of this song, however). Perhaps if Ill Will Fulton (seriously, these producer names these days) wasn't so concerned with getting chicks to shake their asses on the floor, this song would actually be considered good, but what we end up with is something that's only borderline passable.

9. DON'T STOP MA (OUT OF CONTROL)
I'm actually confused as to how Russell believed, at any given point during the writing or recording process, that this would somehow be a good song. There are songs from shitty Southern artists that make more sense than this tripe. Producer Chops (from the Mountain Brothers) should be fucking ashamed of himself.

10. IF Y'ALL WANT WAR (FEAT ROYAL FLUSH)
Royal Flush's appearance is not surprising, as he also appeared in that aborted fetus of an album that was The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones. Also not that surprising: how much this song sucks.

11. PUSSY KEEPS CALLING
That is a fucking great title, one that is deserving of a better track to attach itself to. To be fair, though, ODB is the only acceptable rapper ever when it comes to naming songs random things such as "Pussy Keeps Calling" or "Where My Balls At?", so the mere fact that he actually used the title deserves a couple of points in and of itself. Only a couple, though.

12. DOWN SOUTH
If you're ever unfortunate enough to hear this song (meaning if you are either being tortured in Gitmo or if you write a blog such as mine), you may recognize Dirty's "verses" from Method Man's "Dirty Mef" from 4:21...The Day After. I put the word "verses" in quotes, though, because this shit is barely a song: Chops, um, chops up one fucking Dirt verse into separate four-bar increments: four lines will play, and then an extended shitty hook, then four more bars, extended shitty hook, lather, rinse, and repeat. ODB should dig himself out of his grave and punch that motherfucker Chops in the fucking eye. And possibly eat his brain, as well: if Russell manages to actually dig himself out of his grave, I assume Big Baby Zombie would be rather hungry.

13. RAHZEL SKIT 2 (FEAT RAHZEL)
This is a skit for an ODB mixtape, correct? Then why the hell is Rahzel recreating (moderately faithfully, I must say) the beat to fucking Method Man's "All I Need" from Tical, an album that Dirt McGirt had nothing to do with?

14. CAKED UP (FEAT BABY SHAM FROM FLIPMODE SQUAD)
I assume that Busta Rhymes was so busy racking up DUI's that he had to send his weed carrier Baby Sham to assist his former labelmate. This song is awful, as was to be expected, but Baby Sham is actually okay, so at least there's a somewhat silver-plated lining.

15. FUCK Y'ALL
No comment.

The following are listed as bonus cuts for no apparent reason.

16. MOVE BACK (FEAT CARDAN, DRAG-ON, JAE MILLZ, THE LENNOX AVE BOYS, & TERRA BLACKS)
I can't imagine that ODB would collaborate with any of these chumps had the drugs not taken control of his soul. As expected, this "posse cut" sounds like Dirt McGirt was tacked on as an afterthought. Fuck this song, and fuck all of these artists. Yeah, I said it.

17. FIRE (DIRTY DIRTY ALT VERSION)
This assault on the senses will forever be engraved on Ill Will Fulton's tombstone: "May have been an okay guy in other aspects of his life, but as a producer, he's a much better chartered accountant". At least Rhymefest must be happy that his own vocal contribution to the original "Dirty Dirty" were excised.

18. POP SHOTS CLINTON SPARKS REMIX
You're fucking kidding, right? A fucking mixtape deejay (one with one of the most annoying catchphrases in the game: "Get familiar"? Seriously?) actually thought he could one up DJ Premier, one of the top five producers in hip hop history? How dare you, sir. If you're going to grow the sack to do something like this, Sparks, you should make damn sure that your song is fucking listenable, let alone decent. And maybe you should make sure that your additions to the song's title are put inside fucking open and closed parentheses on the album cover next time.

The following is an unlisted bonus track.

19. UNTITLED HIDDEN TRACK
At this point, I stopped paying attention. Sorry.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Osirus: The Official Mixtape essentially alienates the rest of Dirt McGirt's fans, at least those that were still around after The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones. There is no reason that this disc should exist: ostensibly, it was released to pay tribute to Dirty's life, but all it truly does is make it seem that Ol' Dirty Bastard was almost completely useless without his Wu-Tang brethren, and what the hell kind of legacy is that to give your children?

BUY OR BURN? Neither. If you're in a record store and someone takes even a cursory glance at this disc, smack it out of their hand and punch them in the fucking eye. Don't worry, Max says it's okay.

BEST TRACKS: "Pop Shots"; "Dirty Dirty"

-Max

RELATED POSTS
Read reviews for other, better Wu-Tang-related discs by clicking here.

7 comments:

  1. scenario: my wife comes hon with a gift one day: - ODB's Mixtape.

    Should I
    a) punch her in the eye
    b) say thank you, then punch myself, cause I now own it.

    Thank you Max.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Idiotic comment above, and I've never understood your respect for ODB, being the weakest part of a legendary rap group and dying from drugs shouldn't qualify someone to be reviewed. Especially when this isn't your only ODB review, even though you should know beforehand that it is going to blow.

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  3. Dude, your reviews are getting as predictable as one of your drink coasters. And don't blame the source material. Remember, there's no such thing as small albums, only small reviewers.

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  4. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessSeptember 12, 2008

    That was the best opening line in the history of this blog. The realest shit you ever wrote.

    ReplyDelete
  5. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessSeptember 12, 2008

    I was premature. Best review in the history of this blog. The realest shit you ever wrote.

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  6. there were'nt no science behind odb, just random bullshit that was thoroughly entertaining on the first album cause it was so new...cenzi not a player at all, obviously you'd :if not punch her, you shake the shit out of her and send her back to the store to get a refund and cop Golden Arm's Redemption (if you don't already have that)

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  7. does anyone think its wierd odb died just before his 36th birthday?

    ReplyDelete