On this day in hip hop history, the rap world lost one of its strongest and most unique MCs, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (a.k.a. Ason Unique, Osirus, Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus, etc.). His flamboyancy and unconventional styles were in instrumental part in the group’s success and will live on through his music forever.
Born Russell Tyrone Jones in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York, ODB spent a lot of time in his youth with his cousins Robert Diggs and Gary Grice, also known as RZA and GZA of Wu-Tang Clan. Their collective love for Hip Hop culture and kung fu films helped them to shape their personas and eventually become the multi-platinum selling rap heavyweights that they are today.
Aside from Wu-Tang Clan, ODB had a very successful solo career. He released his first solo studio album, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, in 1995. This album was incredibly successful reaching no. 7 on the Billboard 200 chart and no. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The project was also nominated for the Best Rap Album Grammy in 1996. In 1999, he followed up with his second album N**** Please which debuted at no. 10 on the Billboard 200 and sold 93,000 copies in its first week.
After his second album, ODB unfortunately had a few brushes with the law and did not release any more solo projects. There was a compilation album released in 2002 called The Trials and Tribulations of Russell Jones and a posthumous mixtape released in 2004 called Osirus.
Regarded as a genius by many that knew him, OBD’s knowledge and wisdom will definitely be missed forever by the entire Hip Hop world. The God came to his untimely demise in 2004 with cause of death being heart failure. There will never be another rapper or man like him.