Comments on my link to ODB
commentson 6 October 2003 : 14:04, wayne sez:

I saw ODB on mtv or vh1 recently. He had just been released from jail, was on probation and living with him mother. He was bored and admitted to being tempted to go out and party, which was against his probation rules. Didn't look like there was too much bling at his mother's. He was watching a lot of tv it seemed. Sad!

commentson 6 October 2003 : 16:34, Christine sez:

have fun in Korea! i love going there, each time. autumn there is much more pleasant than winter and summer.

commentson 6 October 2003 : 20:20, Liz sez:

ODB dug his grave years ago when he bragged on MTV about abusing the welfare system. I think he has a lot of kids by different woman. There was a small window of opportunity for ODB, but that window is shut now.

Method Man and Redd Man have prolonged their careers via acting and music.

commentson 7 October 2003 : 18:33, Joao Paglione sez:


To be very candid, I didn't understand your link to ODB. I enjoyed your post and writing as usual but was .. confused by your portrayal as ODB as some sort of inspiration??

I think the entire RAP/HIP-HOP phenomenon has become all about the 'bling-bling'. I saw De La Soul play at Central Park this summer for free and they put it best.

It's not about rapping anymore or about being opressed or the underdog. It's all about clothing lines, cross-promotion "..feautring Pharell", money-money-money!

How is Old Dirty Bastard any different from 50 cent or Eminem or ______?

I'd rather listen to RUN D.M.C. or Rapper's Delight by the sugarhill gang.

Preach on, brotha'!

commentson 7 October 2003 : 18:49, justin sez:

Joao -

Bling bling is one thing, going to jail for addiction and bad behavior is another. What about trying to legally change his name to "Big Baby Jesus"? There's something more deeply mad than materialistic at work in this man's story. Maybe this is how he is described in the media. Or perhaps it is what I seek out in him - looking for more chaotic media participation. I find it frankly astonishing that he has so much tangible output while flaunting so many social conventions. "Candy-coated helicopter with a leather cover" as BG sang. Meanwhile, ODB sang, "comin to the hip-hop store / Comin to buy gro-cery from me."

As you said Liz, he's not exactly pleasant or appreciable. But still eminently different, in part because he shoots himself in the foot. I can think of another notable performer who couldn't keep himself out of trouble - Leadbelly, at least according to legend. Arrested, he got himself pardoned. Then he got arrested again! Either by sad circumstance or hunger for trouble, some people can't keep away from bad doings. When they couple that with bold storytelling, it's something to watch, and wonder at.

commentson 7 October 2003 : 21:32, Benjamin sez:

You hit something important to me, Justin. Number 1, I memorized "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" pre-internet, by listening over and over, capturing maybe two words of a verse at a time, until I accumulated the whole rhyme.

You didn't specify what song there's a Thelonius sample on. I'm guessing C.R.E.A.M., because it has a good piano sample, but it doesn't sound like Monk to me.

Every time I listen to the album, I think about the attention to detail of the production, how the beats and musical layers rarely repeat exactly. They morph, add and take away different samples, keeping it constantly interesting.

Now ODB is a different story. I have heard from a couple of music magazines and writers that for the Nigga Please album, the reason he acts crazy is that he was smoking crack. According to them, if you know what a guy who can get as much crack as he wants sounds like, this would be the album.

I can't test that claim. The other thing I heard is that during that harrowing period, they got him into the studio with a lure of $20,000 per hour, and they produced all of the backup vocals, layers, production, whatever without him. If you listen to the album, they took whatever he said and made it into a song.

commentson 8 October 2003 : 11:18, Lee sez:

You can't put Wu Tang in the same category as 50 cent and eminem. And besides, even if you did, it's still fun music to listen to, depending on your tastes.

Come on...saying you still listen to Sugarhill Gang and Run D.M.C. is a little trendy. I listen to Grandmaster Flash because that's true rap. Doesn't that sound fake to anyone else?

commentson 9 October 2003 : 05:57, Bjorn sez:

Wow, nice surprise to find my own new site as the "punchline" to this ODB piece. Yes, this is the Bjorn you think it is... unless of course, you didn't think it was. But it is. Stay strong, Justin. Nuh!

commentson 9 October 2003 : 06:21, justin sez:

Ben - I love those insights about ODB's album making process. Sometimes it seems stars reach a point where their associates must yank a projects out of them, by trickery or force or deep cadjoling. Rap is no different. And you memorized that song? Have you been happy with Wu Tang Clan members' ongoing efforts?

Bjorn - Hah! I had absolutely no idea it was you! I saw the name Bjorn, but it had been years since I had seen your web work, so there it was! I was just tickled to see that someone had made a blog to follow ODB, so I thought I must honor it with a link. And I did and so I find you here. Nice!

commentson 9 October 2003 : 11:55, Damanda sez:

Once upon a time in 1996 or 1997 I went to the Grammys and had to be the press escort at the afterparty which i had never done before in my life and all these publicists kept screaming at me for losing press because stuff would happen like, i was trying to get them to interview the Blind Boys of Alabama and then Annie Lennox would walk in and everyone would trample me and those blind men to get to her so they were lost and so after a couple hours of abuse, i threw my laminate at those fokking bitchy ass women and told them i quit then went to the smoking room (at the time it was called the cigar lounge because that was the stupid trend of the year....cigars and cigar bars and cigar afficionado magazine yadda yadda yadda) and i was sitting down there chain smoking and bitching to all my co-workers about how horrible those women were and this homeless guy comes up to me and starts blowing his blunt smoke in my face and speaking unintelligibly (sp?) and i was wondering shooo how'd that guy get in here because one of my friends had to work the door and got in trouble because 2 cholas got in, got drunk at the open bar and had to be carried out and so i said something to him like "i don't get high you're barking up the wrong tree" and he started barking at me and was like all falling down and stuff...cut to about half an hour later there was this house jazz band playing down there to make the nasty smoky smoking room all classy by calling it a cigar bar and having humidors and dumb stuff like white tablecloths all over and some famous people were pretty buzzed so they were jumping up with the jazz band and singing stupid songs and stuff and then the homeless guy grabs my hand and tries to get me to jump on stage with him and dance and i'm like 'NO leave me alone" and so then he just jumps on stage and starts rapping over the jazz band and pretty soon all these people come running downstairs and are yelling ODB! ODB! and the big stir of the evening is that ODB (who looked like he had spent the night in a dumpster that evening) had jumped up on stage in the cigar bar and started rapping. that's *my* ODB story. (oh and then i saw those women a couple weeks later on tv when i was watching the academy awards and they were pulling celebrities around and speaking on headsets...ugh.)

commentson 21 October 2003 : 18:00, Damanda sez:

Hey check out who made rock and roll's top 10 biggest "eccentrics" list. Ah, the English put it so nicely. Even "nutter" has a nice ring to it.

According to the or someone...

The 10 greatest eccentrics

Popular music will always need eccentrics, the people who
show mainstream life how things can be stranger, more
beautiful, or just... different. These 10 singers, musicians and
producers are, arguably, the most peculiar of all

Sean O'Hagan
Sunday October 19, 2003
The Observer

1. Kate Bush

Number One because she brought her own brand of rural gothic
eccentricity right to the very heart of the mainstream. In deepest
Plumstead, she spent her teenage years running the Incredible
String Band fan club, then studied mime under Lindsay Kemp,
the man who gave Bowie similiar ideas about the poetic power
of prancing about. To this end, La Bush even made leggings and
spangly cat suits almost trendy for a brief instant. Her first
moment remains her finest: 'Wuthering Heights', Emily Bronte's
gothic novel rendered as a three minute pop song. She later did
the same for Molly Bloom's solliloquy from James Joyce's
Ulysses on The Sensual World. Now a pop recluse without
being an acid casualty, rumours persist that she is working on
an album, the first since 1993. A major influence on inspired
loons like Bjork, Tricky, even Tori Amos. Altogether now:
'Heathcliff, it's me - Cathy. Come home. I'm so cold! Let me
in-a-your window.'

2. Sun Ra (died 1992)

Born Herman P. Blount on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham,
Alabama, he took the name Sun Ra in his teens after aliens
supposedly abducted him and informed him of his higher
calling. 'There's five billion people on this planet, all out of tune,'
the jazz man once said. 'I have to raise their consciousness.' To
this end, he released over 200 albums. The first and greatest
space cadet.

3. Captain Beefheart

The weirdest rock visionary of all. In his pre-music days, he was
a vacuum cleaner salesman, who once sold a Hoover to Aldous
Huxley with the line 'This machine sucks'. Locked up his backing
group, the Magic Band, until they learned how to 'unplay' their
instruments. The resulting album, Trout Mask Replica, remains
the most ambitious and deranged art work thrown up by any pop

4. Kevin Rowland

Anecdotes abound about the Brummie soul brother who insisted
the original Dexy's Midnight Runners line-up should keep fit and
forswear drugs, despite being named after an ampetamine pill.
Metamorphosed into a Celtic gypsy, resurfaced as a city gent in
Brooks Brothers' clobber, wore stockings and suspenders at the
Reading festival and was last seen wearing a cream suit and
pencil moustache.

5. Lee 'Scratch' Perry

Reggae's reigning eccentric. The man once known as the
Upsetter wrecked his legendary Black Ark studio in a fit of ganja
fuelled paranoia in the mid Seventies and has not returned to
normality since. The only reggae toaster (rapper) to actually keep
a toaster in his studio - impaled on a fence post. Also given to
calling himself Pipecock Jackson or Super Ape.

6. Harry Smith (died 1991)

Musicologist, animator and anthropologist who unearthed the
sound of the old weird America on the epochal Anthology of
American Folk Music. Also donated the largest known paper
airplane collection in the world to the American National Air and
Space Museum and collected Ukrainian Easter Eggs and string
figures from all over the globe. Later a 'shaman in residence.'

7. Ol' Dirty Bastard

Once plain Russell Jones, ODB was always the oddest of the
Wu-Tang Clan, the martial arts obsessed hip hop crew. He is
also the unluckiest: shot twice, and arrested, at the last count, a
dozen times, twice for 'making terrorist threats'. Spent one court
case talking dirty to a female District Attorney, then took a nap
during his sentencing. Now known as Big Baby Jesus or Dirt

8. Joe Meek (died 1967)

A former radar technician, Meek ran a prototype indie label and
makeshift studio out of his living room in north London.
Obsessed with outer space, he pioneered sampled noise,
including the sound of his own toilet flushing. Produced 'Telstar'
by the Tornadoes, the first British pop record to reach No 1 in
America, and, bizzarely, Margaret Thatcher's favourite single.

9. The Shags (split up 1975)

The three Wiggins sisters, Betty, Helen and Dot, from rural New
Hampshire, were called collectively after their thick arse-length
hairstyle. They made the rock equivalent of outsiders art. Weird
dad, Austin Wiggins Junior, simply willed them to become pop
stars, while simultaneously forbidding them from attending pop
gigs. Philosophy of the World (1969) is utterly disturbing.

10. Julian Cope

English pop's most famous pagan, who refuses to recognise
the terms AD and BC, and is given to eulogising the Norse god,
Odin. His most Viking gesture was slashing his stomach with a
mike stand. Wore a giant turtle shell for an album cover, and
swam with Funghi the dophin for a video. Also attended an
anti-poll tax protest in 1990 dressed as an alien, Mr. Sqwubbsy.
It cut no ice when the bailiffs came round his gaff.

Making the law

Sean O'Hagan justifies the selection of this month's oddball ten

I know, I know, where's Brian Wilson? Where's that other crazy
producer Phil Spector? Where's Syd Barret, for God's sake. And,
who could dare compile a Top Ten of Great Pop Eccentrics
without Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band? Well,
on the grounds that we all know all there is to know about those
latter gents, and, more pertinently, that their eccentricity was
linked to genuine mental illness (Syd, Brian, Phil), or to
alcoholism (Viv), I've decided to risk disdain and approbrium and
leave them, out.

How then, you ask, could I include Joe Meek, not to mention Ol'
Dirty Bastard (formerly of the Wu-Tang Clan). Well, Joe was an
eccentric for a long time before it teetered over into full blown
paranoia and epic tragedy. And, ODB, well let's just say his
behaviour is so out there, it's difficult to ascertain whether he is
truely eccentric or simply drug deranged. The tightrope walk is
what it's all about here, folks. Like the others on the list, the
oddball rapper has managed to somehow channel his oddness
into something approaching real genius. There's the rub...

Personally, I was miffed at having to leave out the likes of Hazel
Adkins, the rockabilly nut who made moaning an art form, not to
mention the great Lucia Pamela, whose concept album 'Into
Outer Space with Lucia Pamela', I urge you to seek out at your
earliest convenience. But then I could go on, and on and on. Pop
music has always been about the eccentrics, those people who
follow personal conviction to the point that conventional society
regards them at first as being, well, beyond the pale - and who
then, if they're looking, have the satisfaction of seeing thw world
turn their way. In other words, pop is not, and certainly never has
been, just about corporate lapdogs and manufactured, sanitised

Enjoy, even - especially - if strangely you disagree.

Have your say

Outraged by our choice? We thought as much. Write and tell us
who should have been there, along with a justification for your

10 Eccentrics,

commentson 22 October 2003 : 20:51, justin sez:

Nice work digging that up. And also, putting up your dukes against ODB - I don't know how I would react; then again, I don't think he would approach me in quite the same way.

commentson 13 November 2004 : 19:56, Dustin sez:

yo ODBs dead.. ain't that some shit. his style was like no other, but how long can you expect to live smoking rock.

February 2005 - comments are closed on Thanks.