Music

ODB’s ‘Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version’ Gets A Special 25th Anniversary Edition

25 years ago, Russell Jones — aka Ol’ Dirty Bastard, aka Dirt McGirt, aka Big Baby Jesus — made his solo debut with Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, the second solo album from a member of Wu-Tang Clan and one of their most memorable. After standing out with his unhinged, idiosyncratic style on the group’s debut Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) just three years before, Return was Dirty’s chance to prove that he could carry a full-length release on his own.

He did just that and more with his solo debut, which went platinum behind the hit singles “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and garnered near-universal critical acclaim. In Dirty, the astute observer can find the seeds of modern strains of hip-hop that have been deemed too much of a departure from tradition by purists such as the SoundCloud rap movement and rappers with melodic deliveries like A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Lil Tjay.

Dirty was an unconventional eccentric tradition unto himself. Back when the possibilities for hip-hop seemed wide-open, ODB was the Lil Uzi Vert of his time. Before Uzi himself so much as babble, ODB was stretching syllables, eschewing decorum, and doing things his own way. Hip-hop wouldn’t be where it is without him, but he’d also fit right in today. Portland rapper Aminé even paid homage to Dirty’s most well-known single with his own “Shimmy” earlier this year.

For proof, WMG’s Rhino Records catalog division is reissuing ODB’s debut with a 25th Anniversary Digital Deluxe Edition Release. It includes a remastered version of the original album, the rare promotional instrumental-only version, and a collection of various EPs from the early 1990s rise of Wu-Tang. There are also revamped versions of the two singles; the sample-less “Brooklyn Zoo (Stripped Version),” which retains only ODB’s vocals and RZA’s drums and synths, and a similarly stripped version of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” with alternate vocals from RZA.

To celebrate the anniversary and the re-release, Amazon Music also released a documentary profiling ODB and his truly unique debut. You can watch that above and get the deluxe digital version of the album here.

Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version is a Warner Music release. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.

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