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Ol' Dirty Bastard
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Ol' Dirty Bastard

Ol' Dirty Bastard (ODB) is a member of the Wu-Tang Clan, an American rapper whose distinctive style has proven one of the most influential of the 1990s. He was born in 1969 in Brooklyn as Russell Jones, and soon founded the Wu-Tang Clan with his childhood friends, RZA and GZA. After Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang's massively popular and innovative debut album, Ol' Dirty Bastard's hard life began to catch up with him--he was shot in the stomach following an argument with another rapper in 1994.

ODB's solo career began with 1995's hit album ' was aided by the singles "Brooklyn Zoo" and "Shimmy Shimmy Ya". In 1997, ODB's legendary legal troubles began with his arrest for failure to pay child support. He'd fathered at least thirteen children, and his wife, Icelene Jones, claimed he hadn't paid any support in over a year. During a following Grammy Awards show, ODB rushed onstage during Shawn Colvin's acceptance speech and began discussing his recent purchase of some expensive clothes and, tangentially, his loss to Puff Daddy in the same ceremony. He then announced a new name, Big Baby Jesus''', but was never able to give a coherent explanation for the switch. Further problems with Icelene Jones in 1998, resulted in several court dates and he was shot in an attempted robbery. He was also arrested for shoplifting in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in spite of clear means to pay for the $50 shoes he attempted to steal. He was arrested for making terrorist threats after a series of drunken confrontations in Los Angeles a few weeks later, and was then re-arrested for similar charges not longer after that.

The breaking point occurred during a routine traffic stop, the details of which remain clouded in multiple versions of events. In the end, he was arrested for attempted murder and criminal weapon possession; the case was dismissed. Soon after, in California, he was arrested for driving without a license and wearing a bulletproof vest. Back in New York weeks later, ODB was arrested with a small amount of crack cocaine and other driving offenses. With multiple cases in the past and present, ODB was arrested with marijuana and 20 vials of crack. His conflicting cases adding to his problems, ODB soon entered rehab, in spite of being wanted by several police forces; he was technically on the run from the law. He found time to release 1999's Nigga Please, a critical masterwork and mild sensation. This release included the year's college anthem, "Got Your Money" which remains in constant rotation at The Illvibe Collective's famous monthly hip hop event, The BODYROCK in Philadelphia [1]. Strange behavior during a subsequent court case sent him to jail for a brief period, but he finally ran away from his by-now-court mandated rehab and spent one month as a fugitive. He appeared at a record release party for The W, a Wu-Tang Clan album. He was arrested in a McDonald's parking lot and received two to four years in prison; mental problems resulted in a suicide attempt not long after his sentencing. His record company, Elektra Records, has released a greatest hits album as well as "new" material, but ODB's lack of participation led to critical pans and popular failure.

2003 brought a turn in the life of the dirtiest member of the Wu-Tang Clan, however. The day he was released from prison, with Mariah Carey and Damon Dash by his side, Dirty signed a contract with Roc-a-Fella Records, and began a new chapter in his life. Living at his mother's home under house arrest and with a court-ordered probation hanging over his head, Osiris managed to star in a VH1 reality television series and record a new album, which by all accounts will be released third quarter 2004. He has stated that he also plans on collaborating with artists in the electronic music genre, such as Carnage And The Fiasco, Fischerspooner, and possibly even Massive Attack.