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Ol Dirty Bastard Biography


Home > Music > O > Ol Dirty Bastard > Biography


Birth Name: Russell Tyrone Jones
Birth Place: Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Years Active: 1988–2004
Genres: Hip Hop, R&B


Ol' Dirty Bastard or simply ODB (born Russell Tyrone Jones, November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004) was an American rapper and occasional producer. He was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan, a Hip-Hop group primarily from Staten Island, New York that first rose to mainstream prominence with their 1993 debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” After establishing the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol' Dirty Bastard went on to pursue a successful solo career. However, his professional success was hampered by erratic personal behavior and frequent legal troubles, including incarceration. ODB was often noted for his trademark microphone techniques. His stage name was derived from a childhood alias given by Wu-Tang Clan member RZA, the relevance of which was articulated by Method Man's assertion that there was “no father to his style.”

ODB and his cousins Robert Diggs (RZA) and Gary Grice (GZA) shared a taste for rap music and martial arts-style movies. ODB, RZA, and GZA formed the group Force of the Imperial Master, which subsequently became known as All in Together Now after their successful underground single of the same name. They eventually added six more members to their group, calling it the Wu-Tang Clan. The group released their debut album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)” in 1993, receiving notable commercial and critical success.

ODB's solo career began in 1995, making him the second member of the Wu-Tang Clan to release a solo album, following Method Man's 1994 album, “Tical.” Released in March 1995, “Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version” spawned the hit singles “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” which helped propel the album to platinum status. The album's sound was developed with RZA and 4th Disciple producing beats of an even more minimalist and stripped-down style than on the group's debut album. In this same year, ODB collaborated with Mariah Carey for the “Fantasy Remix.”

In 1997, ODB appeared on the Wu-Tang Clan's second and most commercially successful work, the double album “Wu-Tang Forever.” In 1999, ODB wrote and recorded his second studio album “Nigga Please” between jail sentences. The album received notable commercial success, although it failed to parallel the critical praise of his debut. This release included the single “Got Your Money” which garnered world-wide chart success. The song was produced by The Neptunes, and featured backing vocals by R&B singer Kelis, both of which would go on to pursue successful recording careers.

In 1999, ODB was paid $30,000 to appear on Insane Clown Posse's album “The Amazing Jeckel Brothers.” Completing his track in two days, his recording consisted of him mostly rambling. Insane Clown Posse re-recorded the track and re-edited ODB’s vocals in order to form four rhymes out of his rambling, giving the song the title “Bitches.”

In 2001, with ODB again in jail for crack cocaine possession, his record label Elektra Records made the decision to release a greatest hits album (despite there being only two albums in his back catalog) in order to both end their contract with the unreliable troubled artist, as well as make some money off the publicity generated by his legal troubles. After the contract with Elektra was terminated, the label D-3 records released the album “The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones” in 2002, composed of tracks put together without ODB’s input, using the vocals he had recorded with hype-woman Sic-wif-it (Salome), DJ extraordinaire Organix (Eden), and the high- profile lyricist T-Time (Tamara) prior to his capture by authorities. The label recruited many guests including several Wu-Tang Clan affiliates, No Limit Records artist C-Murder, Too $hort, E-40 and Mack 10. However, the album was critically panned and sales were poor.

In 2003, the day he was released from prison, with Mariah Carey and Damon Dash by his side, ODB signed a contract with Roc-A-Fella Records. Living at his mother's home under house arrest, and with a court-ordered probation, he managed to star in a VH1 special, “Inside Out: Ol' Dirty Bastard On Parole.” He also managed to record a new album, originally scheduled to be released through Dame Dash Music Group in 2004. It has since been shelved indefinitely. In October 2004, one month before his death, his last collaboration was with Jon B. on the track, “Everytime” from the album, “Stronger Everyday.”

ODB collapsed on November 13, 2004 (two days before his 36th birthday) at RZA's recording studio and was pronounced dead shortly after. The official cause of death was a drug overdose.