i.m. Russell Jones (1968-2004)
AKA Ol' Dirty Bastard, Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus, Osirus. He is undoubtedly one of the best MCs to ever rhyme. His ragged, cut-up style shifts between chaos and exaggeration, grunts & screams amplifying dangerous lyrics. He has always been the Wu Tang Clan's most erratic and legendary member. Obviously, he didn't follow the health-conscious habits of some of his bandmates (see, for instance, the RZA on holistic medicine and the evils of caffeine and tobacco in Jim Jarmusch's recent Coffee and Cigarettes), but it's unfortunate to see him die young.
I vividly remember listening to his first album, Return To The 36 Chambers (The Dirty Version), repeatedly when it came out in 1995, in the kitchen where I worked as a pizza cook in South Tampa. Sounding best turned up loud (to 11), he evokes hip-hop's occasional moments of genius as an improvisational, intuitive art form. His style is inimitable, on point every time.
"My name black, do words wanna play in my dirt?
Bitch stop, my momma serve free lunch from the church
I come like a thousand doves
Bitch you quiet at the bus, makin the fuss, I gots tough love
Unglove the news, watch a nigga transfuse
Dirty add to the fuse, heavy at the booze
I don't walk, I get carried
Gold and platinum frisbees on my wall
Lookin properly but comely, I U.F.O. you Wright Brothers
The Indian that sold Manhattan to the white man
My grandfather, step up and get knocked right the fuck out
Come to the cook-out, Dirty bitch at the mouth
You scared? Run around like a plane about to crash"