Return to the 36 Chambers by Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995)


If you can make it through the first 5 minutes of this album you have either lost all hope for humanity, or you are giggling incessantly while yearning for more. There is absolutely no middle ground for ODB…you love it or hate it. Either way, this dude was an original, and the rap world lost a star in 2004. ODB was a founding member of the Wu Tang Clan, and quickly became the popular face of the group on MTV (and remember…MTV was the Emperor of Earth in 1995). His popularity really hit its stride when he confused everyone by appearing in a Mariah video. Was this the same dude who took a limo to get food stamps? Yes, he took a LIMO. To get FOOD STAMPS. I don’t care who you are…that’s art. And ODB was gonna shove his art in your face whether you were ready or not.

Return to the 36 Chambers is really vulgar, but the lyrics aren’t half as dirty and gritty as ODB’s delivery. Every rap fan knows ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ and ‘Brooklyn Zoo’, so I won’t waste my time talking about those classics. Like I said above, the opening ‘Intro’ is some of the funniest shit I have ever heard, but make sure you clear the room of anybody square! The beats and music throughout the record jump around all over the place, matching up really well with ODB’s lyrical style: constantly changing between a rap voice, singing voice, or just talking about something random (and probably filthy). You get some good classic Wu Tang beats in ‘Hippa to da Hoppa’ and ‘Proteck Ya Neck II’. Some tracks go with a standard simple bass line beat, like ‘Baby Cmon’ and ‘The Stomp’. The album hits its comedic peak at ‘Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)’…it’s the funniest f-ing thing ever. To be honest, you probably just gotta listen to the whole album start-to-finish, so I’ll stop pointing out highlights for you to download. You really gotta dig into the character of ODB, and once you’re there you’ll keep wanting more tracks.

I’m sure that when our parents observed ODB, they saw a homeless lunatic yelling out gibberish over some annoying bass-heavy rap beat. That’s the point. ODB was delivering stuff that he KNEW they wouldn’t understand, pushing the limits to find out who was really willing to hear about his world. The pop community already had the Fresh Prince’s definition of what it was like to be “from the streets”. Now they got the updated version. Most people thought he was nuts (hard to argue) but anyone who was truly paying attention could appreciate the depth that ODB added to rap. At its core, rap is an unforgiving genre of music that notoriously flaunts its best and worst social qualities. Ever hear a rap song about a day at work when nothing really happened? Nope. It’s either champagne in Vegas, or gunshots in the projects. ODB was literally both ends of the spectrum at once, every day.

music turtle recommends: WHICH IS GOOD, WHICH IS GOOOOD!

What do you think about this album? Comment below


4 Responses to “Return to the 36 Chambers by Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1995)”

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