Personal problems plagued Wu-Tang Clan member, Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s entire life. He had endless run-ins with the law and even spent a crazed month on the road as a fugitive in 2000.
Additionally, he had addiction issues that caused death after the rapper suffered an accidental overdose in 2004. The rapper’s first brush with law enforcement came in 1993 after being convicted of second-degree assault and attempted robbery. Despite the stratospheric success of Wu-Tang, trouble continued to surround him at every juncture.
A few years later, the rapper pleaded guilty to attempted assault on his wife. Additionally, he was also the victim of a home invasion at his girlfriend’s house.
Then in 1999, ODB was first arrested for driving without a license and for wearing a bulletproof vest. At that time, it was illegal for felons to wear the item of clothing for protective purposes. A few weeks later, the Wu-Tang man was found with crack cocaine after being arrested in New York for traffic offences.
As a result of the frequent offending, ODB was then sentenced to drug treatment. He spent six months at the county jail before breaking his probation terms by drinking alcohol and being sent to drug treatment facility Impact House.
After four months there, ODB fleed and lived life as a fugitive for a month before being caught. “He physically ran away,” Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Michael O’Gara said in a statement at the time. “It’s my understanding that [ODB’s] councillors were taking him to court to discuss his program with the judge.”
“No one knows where he is,” said district attorney Ken Holder, who prosecuted ODB in the crack-cocaine case. “He decided he’d had enough of the program, and he left.” The rapper had progressed into the second phase of his rehab program, and as a result of his good behaviour, had been granted 12-hour supervised passes to leave Impact House.
Days before his capture on November 27th in Philadelphia, Ol’ Dirty Bastard brazenly joined his Wu-Tang bandmates in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom. “I can’t stay on the stage too long tonight – the cops is after me,” he told the shocked crowd before joining Wu-Tang to perform, ‘Shame On A N****,’ before resuming his life as a fugitive.
After the performance grabbed headlines all over the world, everybody was aware that Ol’ Dirty Bastard was on the run. He was already infamous before fleeing, and his notoriety increased even further. His cover was blown after a large crowd formed around him in a McDonald’s, which alerted the police to his whereabouts.
Performing on-stage with Wu-Tang Clan was ODB’s idea of hiding in plain sight. Somehow, he managed to escape from the Hammerstein Ballroom without being in the back of a police van. Despite his best efforts, it was clear that his imprisonment was imminent, and he needed to perform with his boys one last time.