Every court needs its jester and, during his all too short time on this planet, Russell Tyrone Jones aka Dirt McGirt aka Big Baby Jesus aka Ol' Dirty Chinese Restaurant aka Ol' Dirty Bastard was the undisputed Clown Prince of hip hop. Ever the absurdist, ODB was interrupting award shows long before K. West was even thinking about college, let alone dropping out. At a time when his solo debut was charting in the top 10, Jones once took two of his thirteen offspring in a limo to collect food stamps while being filmed by MTV News (There are so many things about that sentence to break down, but that's not a misprint, he had 13 kids. And people give Shawn Kemp a hard time).
ODB was blessed with a distinctive voice and uniquely absurd half-sung, half-rapped delivery. "I rap and I sing, but I don't know how to sing," is how he once described his fatherless, free-associative, ludicrously profane style that provided the wild-card energy on 36 Chambers and was so desperately missing on later Wu-Tang group albums.
That style and energy was beloved by many a fan including a budding rapper/producer coming out of Chicago. Kanye West once claimed that, could he be blessed with anybody's voice, it would have been ODB's. With both emcees having recently signed to Roc-A-Fella records, Dirt McGirt was one of the first emcees that Kanye sought to collaborate with when he was recording his debut album in 2003.
When an early version of The College Dropout leaked, Kanye took the opportunity to remix and remaster the album, eventually dropping "Keep The Receipt" and repurposing a segment of the hook in "Get Em High." For the sake of the album, it was the right decision. I consider Dropout to be a nearly perfect debut and I just can't picture where the song would have fit in the tracklist while still allowing the album to flow smoothly (though I'm sure Yeezy could have used one of his many skits to ease the transition).
I can't imagine The College Dropout with a different tracklist and, as much as I love ODB, I wouldn't trade him on the hook of "Keep The Receipt" if it meant losing the two stellar guest verses by Talib Kweli and Common on "Get Em High." That being said, it leaves us with this catchy gem of an unreleased track to celebrate Wu-Tang Wednesday.
"Keep The Receipt" will give hip hop heads a multi-pronged hit of nostalgia. For those that prefer the old Dropout/Late Registration Ye--the up-and-coming, hungry young man looking to carve out his place in the game--over his latest demigod incarnation, this track is just what you need to hold off the
heretical fanatics who worship at the Church of Latter Day Yeezus. For those who simply miss the sound of ODB's voice and have a dearth of profanity in your life, it's got you covered. Combine that with a superb Kanye instrumental and you are left with an incredibly potent song that you are now legally required to bump as loud as possible on repeat for the rest of the day.
Peace, Love, & Protect Thy Neck,
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Ol' Dirty Bastard - "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"