Happy Birthday, Ol’ Dirty Bastard!

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By Dionne Buxton

Ol’ Dirty Bastard died on November 13, 2004 just two days shy of turning 36. On Tuesday (November 15), the Brooklyn-born rapper would’ve celebrated his 43rd birthday. The eccentric emcee had a successful musical career both as a member of the Wu-Tang Clan and as a solo artist, releasing two popular albums (1995’s Return to the 36 Chambers and 1999’s Nigga Please) before his death. ODB was known for his off-the-wall lyrical flow, which Wu-Tang members found fitting since there was “no father to his style.”

Besides his music, ODB was also notorious for his erratic behavior. During an infamous MTV News segment in 1995, he was filmed while riding in a limo to the New York State welfare office to pick up his welfare check. The scene caused plenty of controversy when the video went viral, because his album was sitting in the top 10 on the U.S. charts at the time—but, that’s ODB for you.

ODB was recording his third solo album when he died, leaving behind a wealth of music for fans to enjoy. His raw, gritty rap style was a key contribution to Wu-Tang’s sound, but it gave his career an extra boost when he went solo. In celebration of his life and legacy the 17-track Return to the 36 Chambers is being re-released this year. The album has been re-mastered as a box-set with rare recordings, remixes and instrumentals.

Of course, in true ODB fashion, the box set comes in the form of a bill fold wallet that includes a laminated food stamp from the album’s iconic cover. The package will be available on November 22.

Gone but never forgotten, we thank you for your contribution to the hip-hop Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Happy Birthday!

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