Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Nigga Please

Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Nigga Please (1999)

Gone are the good-natured ruffneck antics of his acclaimed debut, Return to the 36 Chambers (The Dirty Version), as well as most of his Wu-Tang Clan compatriots. There is only ODB and his paranoid, bizarre rantings, barely contained within ominous song titles like “Gettin’ High” and “You Don’t Want to Fuck With Me.” Big Baby Jesus’ performance borders on the pathetic, resembling nothing more than a series of shrieks, grunts and wails; the album’s production, headed by the Neptunes, the RZA and several others, barely redeems it. Nigga Please is bugged-out, wildly uneven…and one of the most compelling albums of the year. Rarely has rap music been visited by a vision so personal, so reflective of its drugged, self-indulgent state that it is an aural cry for help. Guests include Chris Rock and Lil Mo (the latter on the Billie Holiday cover “Good Morning Heartache”); Kelis adds a chorus to “Got Your Money,” an ode to pimping that became the album’s sole breakout hit. Elektra.

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