Wu-Tang Clan is by far the most innovative group in Hip-Hop history. Each of its nine members is unlike the others, or any other rapper that preceded or followed. Over five group albums, forty-seven solo or side projects, and god only knows how many projects from affiliated acts, the Clan has an endless discography that would be a daunting task for even the most curious neophyte to sift through.
Thankfully, the TSS Crew is at your service and will guide you in the right direction, over the next few months, toward the best and most memorable performances by the Wu-Tang Clan’s nine-headed hydra. The Primer is headed to Shaolin, and we won’t stop until you have mastered each of the 36 Chambers for yourself.
The first entry, is the inimitable master of the drunken style, the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Before his untimely demise, ODB was the dynamic wildcard of the group. No one, including fellow clansmen, knew what he would say or do next, but we all watched in rapt anticipation waiting to see. His naked honesty, off-kilter rhymes, and devilish sense of humor will live on forever. Here’s to one of the most unique personalities in Hip-Hop history, the Osirius of this shit, the Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
1. "Brooklyn Zoo"
In one of the more straightforward offerings from his discography, Ol’ Dirty attacks Tru Master’s high-energy production with the relentlessness of a madman.
2. "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
This demented little ditty is everything we love about ODB in less than three minutes. RZA’s production has a funhouse charm to it, managing to be both upbeat and eerie. Dirty’s off-key warbling is mashed up with grimy lyrics, call and response, and threats of violence. Each moment of the song is soaked in the palpable charisma that oozed from ODB’s pores like last night’s shots of tequila.
3. "Raw Hide"
One of the greatest characteristics of the Wu-Tang Clan was the seemingly infinite number of combinations that could result from a nine man group with diverse talents, styles, and perspectives. The reunited “Shame On A N*gga” trio of ODB, Raekwon The Chef, and Method Man could not have approached RZA’s undeviating loop any differently, and yet the divergent subject matter and unique attacks work together to create one of the most underrated tracks in the vast Wu-Tang discography.
4. "Got Your Money"
Recognize I’m a fool and you looove me
It’s no surprise that outside of a random remix or two, Ol’ Dirty Bastard is the only member of the Wu-Tang Clan to ever work with The Neptunes. Ol’ Dirty loved to create twisted melodies, sometimes right in the middle of verses, and few Hip-Hop producers have a better grasp of musicality and melody than Chad and Pharrell. On “Got Your Money” Dirt Dog plays the crazy ladies man that stumbles up to the baddest woman in the club, says something completely crass and inappropriate, and still walks away with the phone number.
5. "Good Morning Heartache"
The reason Ol’ Dirty Bastard was so great was the way he frequently did things that no one else could ever do. This is the greatest example. The song is beyond explanation, so just push play.
6. "Shame On A Nigga"
Ol’ Dirty’s hook and verses are the most memorable parts of this standout from the Wu-Tang Clan’s classic debut. What other rapper do you know could say “got burnt once, but it was only gonorrhea” with the same confidence lesser rappers waste on bragging about a new car or chain?
7. "Brooklyn Zoo II (Tiger Crane Style)"
Ol’ Dirty Bastard put the unpredictable in Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game. When this rhyme was originally written, I’m sure it sounded like a grimy, but relatively, normal (for ODB) rhyme. But you never know what you’re gonna get when Dirty gets in the booth. False starts, guttural howls, and wild detours off the beat ending in three point landings on the following bar make this one of the ODB’s most memorable verses ever.
8. "Dog Shit"
Intermittent high-pitched whines straight out of a horror film contrast with bass and a war chant cadence, to provide the soundbed for Dirty’s wonderfully vulgar rant.
9. "Pop Shots"
Off of the unreleased Ason Unique album, a subdued Dirt McGirt links with DJ Premier with one of his most autobiographical and direct performances. This album was recorded not long before ODB’s death, which is evident in the Roc-A-Fella name drops and slightly deeper voice that came with his added weight. Still, you can hear a spark in his voice that harkened back to a younger, wilder, ODB in his prime during the wailed hook, and Primo’s bouncy production and trademarked scratches make this one worth a listen.
10. "Fantasy" (ODB Remix)
We usually don't do guest features for Primers but this one is so iconic we have to toss it in. Mariah Carey and ODB form a Hip-Hop beauty and the beast on the Bad Boy remix to her single "Fantasy." The track is an example of Puffy’s genius as Ol’ Dirty’s verse helped introduced Mariah Carey to the Hip-Hop market where she would find significant success for the rest of her career.