Osirus (The Official Mixtape)

Artist: Ol’ Dirty BastardTitle: Osirus (The Official Mixtape)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Clover Hope

Given that the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard was best known for his rabid eccentricity, it’s a shock—and a disappointment—that his first posthumous release Osirus (Sure Shot) exhibits minimal instances of the ODB Hip-hop has come to accept and sometimes love. The late Wu-Tang Clan member’s unconventional yet forceful flow breaks through at times, but his rhymes are often eclipsed by monotonous beats trying too hard to emulate the current batch of radio hits.

On the DJ Premier-produced lead single, “Pop Shots (Wu-Tang),” classic ODB merges with a slowed down version of the emcee. “Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang” reverberates while ODB, accompanied by record scratching, hauntingly bellows “that’s my pooppp shottts” in the background. It’s also the track with the most substance, as the Brooklynite lyrically ruminates on the first verse, recounting when the destructively potent crack habit was introduced in the streets. Then on the second verse, he turns on the bravado; “Toe to toe, I scrap with the best / If I spit 10 rhymes, ni**a nine gon’ connect.” The boasting continues with the catchy “Dirty Dirty,” featuring Rhymefest, and “Who Can Make It Happen like Dirt?,” both odes to ODB’s magnetic quality. Tracks like “Dirty Run,” with ODB’s undulating, slurred delivery, and “Go Go Go,” featuring Blahzay Blahzay resurrect the untamed rapper.

“Down South” merely duplicates the southern style dominating rap these days, while ODB ironically demands respect for “the ni**as who been doing it first.” And you’d think the omnipresent crunk master Lil Jon actually produced “Don’t Stop Ma,” with its up-tempo drums supplemented with whistle-like instrumentals. In one of the better tracks, “Move Back,” battle emcee Jae Millz, the forgotten ones Drag-On and Cardan, and the relative unknown Terra Black conquer the track with their dexterous verses, and in the record’s grimiest cut, “Caked Up,” Baby Sham outshines ODB. The album seems hurried and unfinished, with most of the songs only about three minutes in length, but given the circumstances…

The mixtape overall is not outstanding, but ODB seemed to be having fun and testing new sounds. Mundane beats and mediocre hooks obscure his raps though, resulting in an average record that leaves us yearning for the days of “raw” ODB. He wasn’t the best emcee by any stretch of the imagination, but his voice has noticeably matured, more refined than earlier years. And ODB’s trademark hollers resonate throughout this work, proving that even in death, Dirty will be heard.

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