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Dirty: The Official ODB Biography (DVD Review)

2 Nov, 2009 By: Angelique Flores

Street 11/10/09
$14.99 DVD
Not rated.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard was probably the most colorful member of the influential hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. This biographical documentary highlights ODB’s life and style as a performer, chronicling the different dimensions of the hip-hop star through stories from his family, friends and old video footage.

ODB was born Russell Jones in Brooklyn, N.Y. He started rapping as a teen, creating a style of rhyming that was part rapping, part singing (sometimes off key). One of the founding members of Wu-Tang, he stood out for not only his talent but also his eccentric and sometimes chaotic behavior, including his controversial storming of the 1998 Grammy Awards (a la Kanye West), showing up to a perform at a concert after escaping from a drug treatment facility, napping in a sleeping bag on stage waiting for the next song he was to perform, and taking MTV to the welfare office to get food stamps in a limousine.

Interviews with Wu-Tang members such as Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Rza and Gza, as well as his family and home video footage show that ODB’s madness wasn’t a stage act. He was a carefree soul who never worried about how silly he appeared.

Aside from being over-the-top, ODB had a good heart. He once bought pizzas for his whole neighborhood and rescued a girl who had just been hit by a car.

Still, Dirty had his demons. He had been shot several times, served two years in prison, and was paranoid to the point that he thought the government was out to get him.

Still, there’s no denying ODB’s success and musical legacy with his eventual solo career and a clothing line that he established before he died in 2004 at age 35.

This doc gives a well-rounded look at the positive parts of ODB from his Unique Ason persona to his Shinnecock Native American heritage. But it glosses over ODB’s criminal activity, his drug use and his multiple children with multiple women, and even his untimely death. His friends and family paint him more like a saint, prophet, philosopher and philanthropist, rather than the conflicted, flawed man he was.

This one is great for any fan of hip-hop and ODB.   

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