Today in Hip Hop History: The Death of Ol’ Dirty Bastard



Today in Hip Hop History: November 12, 1991

Russel Tyrell Jones, or, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan and left a heavy impact on what modern hip-hop is today.

Starting the initial group Force of the Imperial Master, ODB and his cousins GZA and RZA added six other members to create the Wu-Tang Clan. By 1992, WTC’s debut single “Protect Ya Neck” went on to sell 10,000 copies. In 1993, they released Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) which went on to become a sledgehammer of hip-hop, striking into the cement foundations of its debut and breaking the mold of the current music industry.

One of the most interesting members of Wu-Tang, ODB left a legacy that was undoubtedly controversial, violent, and successful.

I don’t know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. – ODB during the Grammy Awards of 1998

After Wu-Tang, ODB’s solo ventures began with Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, going on to reach platinum. His adventures and accomplishes were of many, one being his escape from rehab where he fled for a month, recorded with RZA, appeared onstage drinking at the Hammerstein Ballroom, and was later arrested at an outside South Philadelphia’s McDonalds after drawing a crowd by signing autographs.

ODB died eleven years ago to this day from drug overdose. While Russel Jones had an erratic behavior and had many run-ins with the American legal system, his legacy moves to be a monumental one, and hard to wash away.