Ol' Dirty Bastard N**** Please

Any doubt about the wildly divergent personalities that exist in the Wu-Tang Clan is summarily dismissed by the releases by these two members. The crew’s resident loose cannon and handcuff magnet Ol’ Dirty Bastard and the highly respected lyricist Inspectah Deck couldn’t be more different. Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s troubles with the law seem destined to forever proceed him, which is a shame as he is clearly the possessor of some rare comic genius. The problem this time around is that on his follow-up to Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, given his intervening problems is that the joke seems squarely on him. While his versions of Rick James’ “Cold Blooded” and Billie Holiday’s “Good Morning Heartache” induce chuckles the first time around, you become aware of the serious reality that you’re tuning into a man excising his demons. It leads to several rambling diatribes, including “All In Together Now”’s declaration that he is a Dalmatian because “I’m white and I’m black,” he begins to directly contradict himself, leaving the album a confused, muddled mess. (Elektra)