January 31, 2009

Ol' Dirty Bastard - O.D.B.E.P. (1996)


In 1996, Elektra Records capitalized on the success of the Wu-Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard's first solo album, Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, by combining the single releases for his hits ("Brooklyn Zoo" and "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"), deleting all of the stuff that was already available on the album, and sequencing it all onto one shiny compact disc. A couple of unreleased tracks from the vault were tossed in, and O.D.B.E.P. was born.

Now, the two of you may be asking yourself: "What the fuck is Max talking about? There is no such thing as O.D.B.E.P.!" Well, that's where you're wrong, kids. O.D.B.E.P. was released exclusively to the Japanese market only, for reasons that I'm pretty sure the Japanese public aren't aware of, either. I obtained this disc back in the late 1990s through a website called CD Japan, which may or may not be around anymore, and was stunned to realize that it was not a bootleg, but an official Elektra Records release. (As for the cost of this thing, well, apparently back then I had money to fucking burn. Sure would be nice to have some of those funds back now...)

The album cover contains tiny type that implies that O.D.B.E.P. was for promotional use only, but that's complete bullshit. What isn't bullshit, however, is the scarcity of a few of these songs, some of which were only made available here (or, if you're familiar with the Interweb, you may have downloaded them already, rendering this sentence moot).

I'm going to tell you up front: there is no recommendation to purchase this album at the end of the write-up. Especially in the current economy, I can't justify asking readers to spend upwards of fifty bucks on a fucking compact disc with only thirteen songs on it. (I didn't pay quite that much for it, but the disc is now out or print, so people can basically charge whatever they think they can get for it.) So the real question of the O.D.B.E.P. write-up is: should you even bother trying to find it?

Well?

1. BROOKLYN ZOO (CLEAN LORD DIGGA REMIX)
This remix has an alright-sounding beat, but part of the charm of the original "Brooklyn Zoo" was the confrontational nature of the instrumental (which you'll hear on the next track). The lyrics, as such, don't mesh well with the calm Lord Digga beat, and that makes this song a failure for me.

2. BROOKLYN ZOO (LP INSTRUMENTAL)
Plays exactly as it reads, but it still sounds really fucking good. Fun fact: while the liner notes of O.D.B.E.P. name The Rza as the producer, most Wu-Tang stans are keenly aware that "Brooklyn Zoo" was actually produced by both True Master and Dirt McGirt himself. You may have already known this, but I felt like filling up the empty space.

3. BROOKLYN ZOO (LORD DIGGA REMIX INSTRUMENTAL)
Plays exactly as it reads.

4. GET IT TO YA RAW (LP VERSION)
For some reason, Japanese consumers know the Ol' Dirty Bastard track "Give It To Ya Raw" as "Get It To Ya Raw". Whatever. The phrase "LP version" is misleading, as this song never appeared on any ODB album. However, this track is pretty fucking awful, thanks to The Rza's non-beat, which is migraine-inducing.

5. GET IT TO YA RAW (SD50 REMIX)
Conversely, over some tweaked drums (reprogrammed by SD50, also known as the Stimulated Dummies), "Get/Give It To Ya Raw" now completely works. This particular version of the song is among my favorite Big Baby Osirus b-sides. This is a pretty good illustration of the importance of the backing music in determining if a song is any good, although I'll be the first to point out that Russell Jones is in no way, shape, or form any sort of competition for the likes of a Ras Kass. But, once again, if lyrics were all that were necessary to create a good song, then we'd all be listening to spoken word poetry.

6. SHIMMY SHIMMY YA (EXTENDED VERSION)
This version includes a verse that was left off of the album (Return To The 36 Chambers: The DIrty Version, for those of you keeping score), but was used in the video version of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya", which is weird, considering that the video version actually had to condense the track in order to tack on a verse of "Baby C'mon" at the end. Strange. This longer version is okay, but, to me, it's the exact same song as the original, so I have no differing opinion on it.

7. SHIMMY SHIMMY YA (STUDIO TON REMIX) (FEAT MC EIHT & E-40)
The Wu-Tang Clan has always had a fascination with the West Coast, and this song was one of their first recorded attempts to branch out. Sadly, it appears in a censored form, which renders MC Eiht entirely unnecessary, as you can toss a football back and forth with your father through the empty spots in his verse. Russell also sounds creepy as hell with his new slow flow, which, thankfully, is reciting some freshly written lyrics for the occasion. Studio Ton, a Bay area producer, provides an instrumental that isn't completely horrible, but it isn't good enough to warrant more than just the cursory one-time listen.

8. SHIMMY SHIMMY YA (EXTENDED ACAPELLA)
Come on, you fuckers already know what this will sound like.

9. SHIMMY SHIMMY YA (EXTENDED INSTRUMENTAL)
Plays exactly as it reads, only longer.

10. SHIMMY SHIMMY YA (STUDIO TON REMIX INSTRUMENTAL)
Plays exactly as it reads.

11. DON'T U KNOW, PART II
A sequel to an album track from Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, which originally featured Killah Priest alongside Dirty, but is now one hundred percent Osirus. While I remember liking the original song a lot, for the sequel, Russell's sex rap takes routes that nobody needed to ever travel on. Ultimately, this just made me miss the original. Maybe I'll put that disc back into the rotation.

12. BABY C'MON (LP INSTRUMENTAL)
Plays exactly as it reads, but still remains a great example of one of The Rza's crazier beats.

13. OL' DIRTY'S BACK (LP VERSION) (FEAT 12 O'CLOCK)
Some rappers are known for their stream-of-consciousness rhymes. This entire song seems to have been constructed in a similar fashion, as there is little to no structure to be found, just as you would expect from an Ol' Dirty Bastard album. However, Cherokee Chief's beat includes some dusty-ass Wu-Tang drums, and both Dirt McGirt and his brother, 12 O'Clock (who is credited as Dirty's "baby brother" in the liner notes - hilarious!) work shit out just fine, thanks very much. Looking past the fact that Russell's lyrics fade out prematurely (although the beat continues on: that pisses me off even more so than when a song just abruptly fades out mid-verse), this isn't bad, in a buried-treasure sort of way.

FINAL THOUGHTS: O.D.B.E.P. is obviously a fans-only disc, as its appeal to anybody outside of the Wu-Tang spectrum is essentially zero. Most of the songs that appear here are available on maxi-singles that most Wu fans may already own, but there are a few unreleased gems that never found their way stateside. The presentation is goofy, but the end result is a bit grating: honestly, does anybody really need to sit through five versions of "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" in a row?

BUY OR BURN? Nobody needs to buy this, although you probably won't be able to find it anyway. For Wu stans, a burn is sufficient, and for everyone else, we'll see you next post, when maybe I'll write about something that isn't quite so esoteric.

BEST TRACKS: "Ol' Dirty's Back"; "Get/Give It To Ya Raw (SD50 Mix)"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
More Ol' Dirty Bastard for you, you, and possibly you.

6 comments:

  1. Zbychu/BankstaFebruary 01, 2009

    Glad to see you've totally exhausted my favourite rapper's catalogue. I love "Give It To Ya Raw" remix, and "Don't You Know, Pt. 2" is pretty cool for me, probably because I haven't heard lyrics from there on another song, which is common theme in Dirty's music. Nice review, Max, I'd also like to see your opinion on 'The Swarm' album.

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  2. I first heard "Ol Dirty's Back" on the Tales from the Hood soundtrack. It appears that Osirus was kickin up dust at the beginning of the track.

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  3. A last chance to get a original copy, besides other rare Wu-Tang material

    http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=250403782872

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  4. since this is impossible to find, think you could upload that shit on media fire or something?! please?

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  5. seriously. hit me with that link homie. i wanna bump that shimmy shimmy ya remix for months...

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  6. Hey, I got one for sale on eBay if you're interested. Check it out!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200538787862&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT#ht_2696wt_1139

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete