The following is an excerpt from the new book, The Dirty Version: On Stage, In The Studio And In The Streets With Ol’ Dirty Bastard by rapper/producer and ODB’s friend Buddha Monk and author Mickey Hess . (You can purchase it here .) The “Ghetto Superstar” chapter details Dirty 's everyday interactions with the people of Brooklyn, showing how he was one of them at heart, but also touches on the dark side of hip-hop stardom, as the eccentric rapper (who passed away 10 years ago this past November) is confronted by dangerous stick-up kids out to tax. Rest In Paradise, Ason Unique .
Ol’ Dirty Bastard — The Dirty Version
By Buddha Monk & Mickey Hess.
Dirty wanted to share the wealth with his people in Brooklyn. He wanted the people who came from where he came from to share in his success. There was never a minute that Dirty wasn’t concerned about his people and his community. Dirty would hit up the Brooklyn businesses. When he needed that certain skullcap for a show, or he needed gloves or funny glasses for a video shoot, he’d go to the little shops owned by Indians, Africans, or Spanish people and he’d buy up all they had. He didn’t go to the major stores. He liked them little bodega stores where everybody else shopped.
If you was in Brooklyn and he was in Brooklyn, if you were standing in line at the bodega and you were two dollars short, Dirty would give you two dollars. I remember standing in line behind this woman—the cashier was frowning and she was asking, “How much am I short? Can you take something out?”
And Dirty said, “Nah, don’t take nothing out—give her all that and some extra pies and cakes, whatever she needs. I’ll pay for it.”
“Thank you so much, mister.”
“You don’t have to call me mister. My name is Ol’ Dirty Bastard.”
“Oh my God, Ol’ Dirty from Wu-Tang Clan? Oh my God, thank you so much.”
Popa Wu said he seen Dirty park his car at a stoplight and jump out and give money to all the kids on the corner. Police told him to move his car but he didn’t stop till he gave some to everyone. That was who Russell Jones was. You know why they loved Dirty so much in the hood? Because he didn’t just act hood on television. You’d see him out there all the time, hear people talk about seeing him. “Yo, I was just watching Ol’ Dirty Bastard on TV, and that nigga drove right by here. He just went to the fish market right off Brooklyn and Fulton Street.”
He was in Wu-Tang Clan but he didn’t want to be a rap star and not be human. He wanted to be in the public and talk to people like a normal person. One day we walked into the fish market and he said, “Yo, before y’all even start asking me, I ain’t takin’ no fucking pictures. Don’t even ask me about music. Let’s talk about life!” Everybody in the room knew this nigga wasn’t on that star shit. But once people started talking to him he would get comfortable. It was a lesson for him and a lesson for all of us. He’d listen to them and they’d listen to him.
“Where you buy your clothes at, Dirty? Where you shop?”
“I don’t go for none of that fancy shit. Motherfucker, I’m from the fucking hood. I shop where you shop!”
“Dirty, where’s your diamond watch?”
So as opposed to them seeing their favorite rapper on TV with a diamond watch that they couldn’t afford themselves, he wanted to let people know the truth. “Nigga, I got one of those in my dresser drawer. Same watch you got on. Matter of fact, I’ve been looking for that shit. I’m gonna go home and find it and put it on.” He would inspire people. “Yo, I rock the same shit you rock. Don’t you see my pants is turned inside out? I keep the pockets out so nobody can’t pickpocket me.”
He was still a hood-ass dude. He didn’t make people think he was walking around with ten thousand dollars in his pocket. When he came to the fish market he wanted to talk to people as a human being, and that’s how he got people to talk to him.
“Dirty, what kind of fish you like?”
And before he went out the door, Dirty had taken pictures with all of them.
The dangerous side to Dirty wanting to stay in the hood was that dudes in the hood knew who Dirty was and they knew he had money.
One night Dirty noticed a car following him, real slow. He was walking home by himself, so he started to get paranoid. He turned a couple corners and the car was still there, still creeping along behind him. He didn’t know who these dudes in the car was or what they might want. He just knew he needed to get the fuck off the street before something went down.
So he ducked into someone’s yard, and wouldn’t you know they had three rottweilers back there? So the dogs is barking and snarling at him, the car’s still creeping through the alleyway, and Dirty gets down on his hands and knees and crawls into this woman’s house through the doggy door. “Somebody’s after me! Call the cops!”
The woman dialed 911 but the whole time she’s talking to the dispatcher, Dirty’s got these three giant rottweilers coming after him. The dogs chased him upstairs and he finally got so scared of them that he jumped out a second-floor window and ran off down the street. The cops picked him up a few blocks away. They didn’t want to listen about nobody following him. They said he was on drugs and paranoid.