Ol’ Dirty Bastard, The Legendary Folk Hero of our Generation


Hello everyone! It has been almost 2 years since I have posted something on here. I have been working on a novel and some short stories so I have not had any time for this. I am glad to be back.

This post contains examples that prove why I believe Russell “Ol’ Dirty Bastard” Jones (ODB), of the Wu Tang Clan, is our generation’s preeminent folk hero. The dictionary definition of “folk hero” is a type of hero–real, or fictional–that has left a significant collective memory in the people of a society through his or her personality or deeds. ODB has absolutely left a “significant collective memory” through both his personality and deeds over the course of his very short 35 year life. And although he only lived a short 35 years, he probably had more action and achieved more in his life than most 90 year olds. The upcoming ODB biopic will definitely be something that we won’t want to miss.

  • ODB was born in 1968 in the projects of Brooklyn. He was very poor growing up and on welfare. He and his cousins RZA and GZA had a strong interest in Rap music as well as martial arts movies. ODB never said much in interviews about his childhood, but RZA had the following memories:

“Me and [ODB] ran through this city, man, cutting school, stealin’ pretzels from the hot dog stand, being vagabonds, sleeping on the trains, drinking 40s on the back of the A Train, rapping, getting chased by the police.”

  • My personal favorite ODB story was from 1998. He was recording in the studio and saw a four year old girl get hit by a car. He ran out and with the help of some friends, lifted the car off the girl and saved her life. Here is a link to the story:

ODB Saves 4 Year Old Girl’s Life

Notice this story is from 2/24/1998. The next day, was 2/25/1998 which was the 1998 Grammys, when this gem happened:

Unhappy that Wu Tang lost to Diddy, ODB went onstage and taught Kanye how its done. Onstage, ODB says, “I don’t know how ya’ll see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu Tang is for the children. We teach the children.” Obviously he was intoxicated, but the previous day he saved a four year old girl’s life, so this was most likely a reference to that event. Shows karma probably does not exist either.

  • Another fabled ODB story comes from Ghostface:  

ODB had friction burns on his Johnson, but just to get some pussy he wrapped gauze around it then put a condom on and “still fucked a bitch”. Classic. However, not surprising to hear this about a person who had 13 kids (before the age of 35 at that).

  • This whole 33 minute interview is pure gold as well.

 The highlights occur at: 2:28, 7:11 (best moment), 9:30, 11:39, 16:24, 17:36, 18:15, 22:56, 25:10,  30:32, and 31:40.

  • Then there was the revelation the FBI had a file on him.

ODB’s FBI File Summary

Some of the highlights are:

  1. In 1999, ODB was stopped in a car with Jersey plates in Steubenville, Ohio; the same day a man was murdered in Steubenville. There was a shotgun, ammo, and a gun holster in the car. All people in the car were detained but only one was given weapons charges (not ODB).
  2. In 1999, ODB fired 2 shots at NYPD officers. He was acquitted by grand jury for attempted murder charge.
  3. ODB was robbed many times in the late 90’s.
  4. The NYPD considered the Wu Tang Clan a mafia-like organization and brought the FBI in for assistance in their investigation.
  • Then there was the time ODB escaped from his drug treatment program to record songs with RZA and attend the “The W” album release party. He was rearrested in Philadelphia when a crowd surrounded him signing autographs:

ODB Escape Story

  • One of Howard Stern’s best interviews was of ODB (occurred the day after the Grammy interruption, it was an eventful week for ODB):

The whole interview is classic. No specific times of the interview are better than others, in my opinion. But it is very interesting to hear how Diddy’s entourage responded to his interruption (where he says Wu Tang is better than Diddy’s crew). Good thing this interview happened before Stern moved to Sirius and lost his edge.

  • My top five personal favorite ODB lyrics (there’s many, many more, but these are my top five):
    • I put my dick in her womb/she blew my head like a balloon, I had her walking on the moon
    • Dip my Dunkin between your Donut/Don’t want it if it ain’t no slut, bitch
    • For any emcee in any fifty-two states/I get psycho killer, Norman Bates
    • Bitch you got herpes in ya ass/Every time you fuck a nigga, he dies fast/And you won’t be last/The pussy break down from a rash/It’s hard for you to walk, cuz you stuck up in your ass
    • Beer belly, I chuckle like Kris Kringle/Put four grams of cocaine, crushed up in the single
  • And last, but not least we can’t forget about the famous video of ODB going with his baby momma and some of his kids to get cash his welfare and get food stamps. Keep in mind he just received an advance from his label:

Overall, you may not agree with how the man lived his life; but you have to respect his attitude and how he had total disregard for societal norms and government authority. We lost a legend in 2004.

In the intro, I gave the dictionary definition of “folk hero” as ‘…a type of hero–real, or fictional–that has left a significant collective memory in the people of a society through his or her personality or deeds’. The two main ways I believe that ODB lived up to this definition and is our generation’s folk hero is (1) how he interrupted the Grammy’s (personality).  Kanye West copied Mr. Bastard’s when he stole the mic from Taylor Swift, although he could have studied ODB a little more and done it in a more tactful way. And (2) he saved a four year old girl’s life after she was hit by a car (deeds). If you can’t respect the man for this alone, then you have issues.

Its interesting to think of what more he could have done since he passed. If there is anything I may have missed, please comment. Also thank you for taking the time to read my post!

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