The late emcee, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, was an incredibly striking figure who profoundly impacted hip-hop during his life. As a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, the lyricist (real name Russell Jones) played a pivotal role in launching the Staten Island collective into the mainstream with their 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Jones brought dark humour, dynamism and a vigorous edge to hip-hop with his distinctive half-rapped, half-sung delivery. His vocals were always loud, and, as a cultural figure, Ol’ Dirty Bastard (ODB) was undoubtedly a raucous character.
From ‘I Got Your Money’ featuring Kelis to ‘Brooklyn Zoo’, ODB was a hitmaker. However, there is one track ODB made that will never see the light of day. In an interview with DJ Vlad, ‘Ice Ice Baby’ emcee Vanilla Ice unveiled that he still has a song he made with Jones. Unfortunately, the rhymer has insisted he will never release it.
Explaining why, Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) expanded, “I did a song with him. It never came out, and it will never come out. I’d never do that to family or any of those people. But he was a friend of mine at the last part of his life, which was probably the worst part of his life.”
The emcee continued, “But we did have some good conversations when he wasn’t high, you know what I mean? He was all there. Dude was a badass. A freaking poet, man.” However, Van Winkle did highlight Jones’ drug use, telling DJ Vlad, “That stuff gets ya, and it doesn’t let you go.”
He added, “And if you’re not strong enough to get away from it or have self-discipline to pull yourself out of something, it’s got ya. You’re just gonna go with it. He was way too deep. You could tell, man. Poor guy.”
Despite it being shocking, Jones’ substance abuse was well-known in the industry and in 2004, the Brooklyn emcee died of an overdose. You can watch Vanilla Ice’s interview with DJ Vlad in the video below.