On this day in Hip Hop history, Wu-Tang Clan’s Ol’ Dirty Bastard released his debut solo LP, Return of the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. Released by Elektra Records, Return of the 36 Chambers was only the second solo LP by any Wu-Tang member. Largely produced by fellow Wu-Tang emcee RZA, the album had a mostly positive commercial reception.
Peaking at number seven on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Top R&B/Hip Hop chart, Return of the 36 Chambers sold 81,000 albums in its first week, and was certified gold later that year. The album was also nominated for “Best Rap Album” at the 1996 Grammy Awards.
Coming off such a successful group debut, there was little critics could say to discount the record. The Source, Rolling Stone and Allmusic have all given the project four out of five stars . In 1998, The Source selected the album to be a part of its 100 Best Rap Albums list. Conversely, Select was the only magazine to give the album a bad review.
“From the extremely long and unfunny intro skit, it’s obvious ideas are spread wafer thin across the 15 tracks.”
Following Return of the 36 chambers: The Dirty Version, ODB went on to release one more solo album, Nigga Please, before his untimely demise in 2004. Ol’ Dirty will forever be remembered as one of the most talented and unique emcees to ever grace the mic.