Today in Hip Hop history, Wu Tang member Old Dirty Bastard released his debut single Brooklyn Zoo on February 3, 1995.
When I was just 13 years old, I met Ason Unique aka ODB. I lived on 132nd street in Harlem and he lived right up the block from me with his wife and children. I always saw him coming home when I was leaving for school. One night I came home from a trip to Great Adventures and Ason was sitting on his stoop with rapper Buddha Monk. They decided to give me my first lesson about men and warned me not to trust everyone. The conversation was straight forward and brutally honest to say the least.
A few weeks later I saw Ason again and he asked me to watch his 3 kids for a couple of hours and I agreed. 5 hours later he returned like nothing happened and I tried updating him on his kids behavior—who gave me a run for my money, and Ason stop and corrected me on how to pronounce his son’s name and the origin. Barsun—now known as Young Dirty Bastard.
A week later he handed me a cassette tape. It had ‘M-e-t-h-o-d Man’ on one side and ‘Protect Ya Neck’ on the other side. I played it all day. When I saw him later that evening, I asked about his verse. Ason Unique broke down every bar and it had nothing to do with the surface. It was all mathematics and I was impressed. He was the first to take me to Chung King studio and tons of funny stories and memories were made. More importantly, he was always respectful and loving, just like a big brother.
As the story goes, Ason ended blowing up in one of the most honored rap groups of all times. He always showed love and even thanked me on his debut album Return of the 36 Chambers.
When ‘Brooklyn Zoo’ hit the airwaves, produced by my good friend Tru Master, ODB was a shining rap star. He never forgot where he came from and remained down to earth until his untimely death.
As we remember our fallen soldiers let’s never forget their talents and how they rose to fame. For me, I will always remember Ason Unique and how he took time to cultivate my young mind.
Wu Tang Forever.