Does ODB's "Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version" Live Up to Its Title? | Review

return cover.jpg

CLASSIC: 4 out of 6

Released: March 28, 1995

Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version holds a high promise according to its title. But does it live up to its title?

Released on March 28, 1995 it was the second Wu solo album (Tical was first) and shows that RZA was supremely confident in his cousin’s star potential. Time would show that he was correct in his assessment. Despite his unorthodox style, which switches between rapping and wild singing, ODB was always entertaining.

 Ol Dirty Bastard hanging out at Franklin Ave Station drinking a 40 ounce of beer

Ol Dirty Bastard hanging out at Franklin Ave Station drinking a 40 ounce of beer

The Best Tracks

The off-kilter piano of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” starts the album in a promising fashion with a dope beat from RZA and the memorable chorus “Oh baby, I like it raw” is classic ODB. The track seamlessly transitions into “Baby C’mon” which is less impressive off the bat, but it has some interesting moments later on.

Fact: A remix of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” by Bay Area producer Studio Ton, featuring MC Eiht & E-40, was released as a one-song promotional single. A video was made for the remix with special effects involving fire.

  Advertisement

Advertisement

“Brooklyn Zoo” is an undeniable hit with its typical Wu-Tang sound which surprisingly is not produced by RZA, but rather True Master and Ol’ Dirty. The loop is quite simple but has the desired effect.

“Raw Hide” is a Wu-Tang rocker with a really cool RZA track and guesting we have Raekwon “The Chef” and Method “Tical” Man who each drop a verse. Meth also provides the chorus which is pretty good. ODB ends the track with a message to his fans.

“Damage” features Genius/GZA who goes back and forth with ODB on the mic. This brings out the best in ODB’s rhymes because he has to hang with one of the best lyricists in hip-hop. GZA does a good job of holding back before coming in with his parts. The beat is a simple but interesting RZA creation.

 The artwork for  Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty  version is very good and artistic. t’s basically as good or better than the album itself.

The artwork for Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty version is very good and artistic. t’s basically as good or better than the album itself.

“Cuttin’ Headz” is an interesting track because it has the vibe of an early Wu-Tang demo (which it might be). The beat has a pleasing piano loop which has the feel of RZA’s earliest chambers. Lyrically they go back and forth in an old school matter just demolishing MCs.

Overall Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version is quite weak towards the end. It’s pretty entertaining at times but the quality of the other early Wu-Tang solo albums is lacking.

 The whole ID card concept is very original and  Return to the 36 Chambers  is considered a classic album cover. This is the back and shows the track list.

The whole ID card concept is very original and Return to the 36 Chambers is considered a classic album cover. This is the back and shows the track list.

How Classic Is Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version?

Classic: None | Dope: "Shimmy Shimmy Ya", "Brooklyn Zoo", "Raw Hide", "Damage" | Solid: "Baby C'mon", "Hippa to da Hoppa", "Goin' Down", "Snakes", "Cuttin' Headz" | Okay: "Don't You Know", "The Stomp", "Drunk Game", "Brooklyn Zoo II", "Dirty Dancin", "Harlem World"
Alexander Ramalho