Review Summary: One of the few terrible rappers to release a good rap album.
It’s clear that fame and quality doesn’t walk hand and hand. Wu-Tang’s most talented members such as Ghostface Killah and Raekwon are less recognizable faces to the public than the likes of Method Man and O.D.B., whose energetic and sporadic personalities makes them incredibly recognizable instead of using lyrical prowess. O.D.B. is much more at fault for lyrics, as he barely writes anymore than a catchy hook and attempts at punchlines that sound like a crackhead trying to rap, which is basically the truth. However, on his debut album Return to The Thirty-Six Chambers: The Dirty Version
, O.D.B. manages to make his sub-par lyricism nigh unrecognizable amongst the schizophrenic, aggressive flows, the minimalistic dusty RZA atmosphere, and arsenal of Wu-affiliation that manages to make up for his lack of actual substance and skill.
The soundtrack for Return to the Thirty-Six Chambers
sounds like a continuation of Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers
, as the title would suggest, and with the occasional exception, it contains an arsenal of excellent albeit seemingly status quo RZA beats at the time. However, despite how that sounds, in 95, status quo RZA beats would’ve been an incredible occurrence. Some exceptions to the almost entirely RZA-driven atmosphere is the True Master concoction of the albums best song “Brooklyn Zoo”, which sounds like an interpretation of RZA’s beat, albeit with a more simplistically evil atmosphere than anything else produced on the album. Other tight cuts include the Old School-inspirations of “Damage”, the dissonance (between the sweetly vocals and forceful drums) of “Snakes”, and the lo-fi, eccentrically joyous pianos of “Cuttin Headz”.
Although the beats certainly make a driving experience for Ol’ Dirty Bastard, he truly makes Return to the Thirty-Six Chambers
his own. His schizophrenic flow and crazy-as-*** personality manages to make every song on the album unique, and his lyrics occasionally have hilarious meaning, whether or not it is intentional. The gibberish musing on “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” introduces us to O.D.B. with a bang, and shows he’s not all about MCing for a lyrical stature, but much rather for the fun of it. Although some decent punch lines occasionally appear (“Cause I create, rhymes good as a Tasty Cake, mix/This style, I'm mastered in/Niggas catchin headaches, what? What? You need aspirin?” from “Brooklyn Zoo” is about as good as it gets), O.D.B. clearly doesn’t make it his focus to make thought provoking lyrics. That’s why Return to the Thirty-Six Chambers
is a considerable and respectable release.