Review Summary: In a musical genre that seems to generally lack inspiration, variety, and charisma, ODB stood out and thrived by being outlandish, unpredictable, and raunchy. A unique character through and through, ODB was in the booth what he was in real life.
Russell Tyrone Jones was, and is, an exemplary example of ‘black trash’. The man we came to know (as Ol’ Dirty Bastard) and love was, let’s face it, a piece of sh*t. Whether his bizarre antics stemmed from a slight mental disorder or severe drug problems may be unknown, but it’s unarguable that he was a polarizing figure and one colorful character. With a wild, uncivilized demeanor and an unkempt appearance, he was notorious for his ability to stir up controversy. His out-of-studio issues included referring to a female attorney as a “sperm donor” in a court room, being shot on several different occasions, and having multiple run-ins with the law. But the man who referred to himself as Big Baby Jesus was perhaps just as spastic, obnoxious, and outrageous in the studio as he was throughout the course of his personal life. His second solo album is not only indicative of who he was as a musician, but who he was as a person. Sporadic, inconsistent, and unpredictable, Nigga Please
is an engaging listen, sure to entertain, but you may not always like it.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard, in a sense of vocals, had been declining since the Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
. On Nigga Please
he’s at a mid point, half slur-rapping, half shouting; kicking and screeching at the microphone from the tip of his lungs. His rapping is a bloody, drunken mess, shouting demands and threats, barely punch lining, much less even saying something coherent. Yet, it’s oddly charming, and he’s got a way with hooks. Strangely enough, his lack of coherence becomes more of a positive than a negative, lacing the album with true spirit – if you could call it that – that it really couldn’t live without.
As crack-addicted as ODB was at this point, he’s incredibly likeable, and in 1999, he had a very great ear for beats. Now his choice of instrumentals was not good in a sense that these beats were of premium quality, but rather, he knew what he liked and went with what fit him. “You Don’t Want To *** With Me” and “I Can’t Wait” are majestic and pulsating, with the former swaying in its splendor, giving ODB. room to scowl over the track, while the later is fast-paced like a late 90’s Busta Rhymes tip. And ODB, being the only other rapper to sound really good over these beats, rips it to shreds without one single quality punch line. Moreover (and strangely enough) The Neptunes’ concrete pop beats sound really good as the backdrop behind his drug induced flow.
In terms of songs, ODB’s quality choice of beats and incoherence come together to form palatable songs that somehow work. “Cold Blooded”, a cover of the Rick James hit, is laced with bouncy organs, claptrap drums, and overall solid structure in pure Neptunes fashion, only to be derailed perfectly by ODB., who’s raspy, purposefully karaoke-esqe singing is drawling to say the least. Surprisingly enough, it’s one of the catchiest numbers of the record. “Got Your Money” has a ‘cute’ little couplet in “I don’t have no trouble with you ***in’ me/ But I have a little problem with you not f**kin’ me”, and it shows the true art of ODB.’s recklessness, as he truly did not give a f**k, as any other artist handling the line would be called on it. He’s easily the worst Wu-Tanger lyrically other than the gibberish babble of U-God, but it’d be hard not to call him also one of the best songwriters, as he infused every song with his distinctive wild-man personality. He’s a trademark, and it’s one reason why he’s legions above most of his piers.
However, there are enormous flaws to be found throughout the record’s duration. Other than ODB’s obvious lack of ‘lyrical swords’, weed carriers run rampart on a couple of songs, and ultimately spoil some tracks. “Getting High” is the most Wu-sounding song on the record, but it’s ruined by Shorty Sh*t Stain, most overrated Wu-B-Teamer La The Darkman, and 12’O’Clock. “Dirt Dog” is ridden with one of the most plain, trite beats out there, and “I Want Pussy” is just scary and insanely stupid, beyond the levels that would garner it appreciation. One thing that’s even worse, ODB actually mixes some lyricism from his early Wu records in here on one song. The title track mixes RZA’s madly driven guitar/horn mess with Ol’ Dirt going at his enemies with a hunger we haven’t heard from him since the Clan’s debut. It’s campy, it’s great, and ODB never sounds more comfortable on the record with his writing abilities.
In a musical genre that seems to generally lack inspiration, variety, and charisma, ODB stood out and thrived by being outlandish, unpredictable, and raunchy. A unique character through and through, ODB was in the booth what he was in real life. He was true to himself, and true to his music until the day he died of (you guessed it) a drug overdose two days before his 36th
birthday. ODB, we hardly knew ye. He died
R.I.P. Russell "Ol' Dirty Bastard" Jones (November 15, 1968 – November 13, 2004)