The dirt on Ol' Dirty Bastard | Bleader

The dirt on Ol' Dirty Bastard

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Dirty
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On Sunday night Reader digital content editor Tal Rosenberg and I hit up the Wu-Tang Clan show at the Congress Theater. Having experienced a number of Wu-Tang shows in the past, I'd give this one maybe three Wu-Tang hand signs in the air out of a possible five. There were some high points (Method Man's floor-length fur coat with matching hat, the group making it onstage before 2 AM, "C.R.E.A.M." still being a buck-wild jam), but they were largely canceled out by the negatives (the guy dressed like Ghostface turning out not to be Ghostface, Raekwon not being there, Ol' Dirty Bastard still being dead). While the bafflingly broad demographic composition of the audience—we saw everything from 14-year-old mall-punk girls to thirtysomething office drones—and sheer energy in the room were an emphatic reminder of just how well-loved the group is, the performance itself was only a notch or two up from simply going through the motions. By the end of their set I was concentrating more on the towel situation onstage than the music itself.

But man, do you remember back in the day when the Wu-Tang Clan was young and ferociously hungry and more than a little dangerous? The FBI sure does!

Rich Jones, a member of the hacker community gun.io, makes a hobby of submitting Freedom of Information Act requests, which compel the federal government to release documents pertaining to a particular subject. (By the way, Rich Jones, this is an excellent hobby to have and I'm not being the least bit sarcastic.) Recently he put in an FOIA request for Russell Tyrone Jones, aka Ol' Dirty Bastard, aka Big Baby Jesus, aka Dirt McGirt, aka Osirus, aka you get the picture, and it turns out that the FBI has quite a substantial file on ODB and the Wu-Tang Clan, whom they suspect of being at least partially a criminal enterprise.

There's a lot to sift through and I've barely scratched the surface of the file myself, but Jones lists a few interesting tidbits, including suspected connections to a couple of homicides and Dirty being found "in possession of large bags full of paper currency." One thing I noticed is that the FBI's NYC bureau alleges that the Wu-Tang Clan would reward loyal operatives in the alleged criminal enterprise with "record contracts to record Rap style music," which I'm not saying totally explains a lot of those Wu affiliate records—but, you know, if the Wu-Tang Clan was actually the criminal organization the FBI file makes it out to be, that could definitely explain a lot of those Wu affiliate records.

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