#rewindreview: Ol’ Dirty Bastard ‘Return To The 36 Chambers’ (1995)

  The reign of Wu-Tang Clan is comparable to lightning in a bottle. No matter how many may want to try and duplicate or say that it has happened outside of them, it simply has not. Rapping talent aside, the personalities involved in the original nine we might have took for granted while living in it but this was a unique moment. After “The Clan” dropped their debut album, solo acts began to drop as well. Method Man would come out of the gate first with ‘Tical’ but in that same year Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s first single ‘Brooklyn Zoo’ menaced the streets. I was introduced to the song by the video and the look of the visuals and song itself were a perfect combination. This highlighted the personality of “ODB” and set the tone for what to expect on his album. ‘Return Of To The 36 Chambers’ is so raw in it’s approach that I believe had “Ol’ Dirty..” not been associated with Wu-Tang Clan, this album would not be remembered or even released. This might sound like a wild take but the album is everywhere and by the standards set with HOP albums during this time it broke all the rules. The intro is almost 5 minutes of no song while actual songs almost sound like interludes or as though they were off “the cutting room floor.” Ol’ Dirty Bastard is not the most lyrical and songs are mainly just freestyles which unlike the urban myths created for his Brooklyn contemporaries, Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, I believe “Dirt Dawg” couldn’t have had these raps written down. The reason the album works is because it has such memorable moments and outrageous quotes. R.Z.A. knew what worked for Ol’ Dirty Bastard and the best way to display his personality was to allow him the freedom to be so “anti..” that it became a new standard. The single ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ dropped after the album was released and the video made one hear the song on the album with different ears. ODB might have been the rawest and most unfocused of The Clan but he was definitely the most dynamic one at that time. What did you think of the album? Singles include: ‘Brooklyn Zoo’ & ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ Listen to QUANTUM LEAP RADIO every Saturday from 4-6p.m. CST & Thursday from 3-5a.m. CST on 90.1 FM KPFT Houston in HD2 Worldwide @kpft.org/listen/ & TuneIn app (under “kpft in HD2”) Catch past episodes by searching and following @fanlink.to/QuantumLeapRadio

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