Book Review: Phases & Stages

Sheet music

Phases & Stages

Digging For Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB

by Jaime Lowe
Faber and Faber Inc., 273 pp., $25

Ol' Dirty Bastard's life wasn't an act. From Ason Unique and Osirus to Big Baby Jesus, the late Wu-Tang Clan MC embodied myriad personalities, yet whatever you were getting was full-on authentic. Jaime Lowe's Digging for Dirt gives a legitimate visual, even if it has just as much trouble staying in one place as its subject, Dirt McGirt. One minute Dirt's "bridling at whatever lame leading questions I had written down ... and answering most of the others curtly," and another he's doing promo for 1995's Tha Carter III-inspiring Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version by rolling up for food stamps in a limousine. Lowe's strength lies in her ability to convey how ODB's personas actually carried some weight. Joe Bananas and Prince Delight weren't nicknames thought up during rap ciphers like Johnny Blaze and Pretty Toney. They were part and parcel of Dirty's schizophrenia. It's also their consummation that led to Russell Jones' premature death in 2004. Hard enough living as the charismatic and celebrated Ol' Dirty Bastard, Jones had to take on so much more than he asked for.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Ol' Dirty Bastard
Godspeed, ODB. Say hi to Doug Sahm for us.

Christopher Gray, Nov. 19, 2004

More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Chase Hoffberger
The Reporting Life
The Reporting Life
Oh, the places you'll go

Sept. 3, 2021

Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Revisiting the Railroad Killer
Local journo Alex Hannaford’s Dead Man Talking podcast investigates the case against a man on death row

Nov. 16, 2018


Ol' Dirty Bastard, Wu-Tang Clan, Russell Jones

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle