Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version album cover
Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

Ol' Dirty Bastard

1995
Elektra

ODB’s always been kind of tricky to parse — a rapper whose intensity could approach the ridiculous, though it was never entirely clear how much of it was signs of a troubled life, impositions from outside interpretations, or his own well-constructed kayfabe. But what really matters is that his voice, from timbre to inflection, was unprecedented and irreplaceable. And his solo debut is the ideal display for it, with zero-fat beats that waste little effort giving him a rhythm to bounce off (the frenetic piano loop of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” is the closest we get to “maximalist”).

Nate Patrin

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