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by
8 February, 2005@12:00 am
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Mixtape/Compilation Release; No Rating Given

      It was producing tandem the Neptunes who first coined the term N.E.R.D., an acronym that stood for “No One Ever Really Dies,” when they released their debut album In Search Of… and their subsequent sophomore album Fly or Die. And in the hip-hop world, the N.E.R.D. acronym has become somewhat commonplace for rappers, as no hip-hopper has ever really died ? or, at least, the hip-hop community has not allowed them to ever really die.

     From Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. to Big L and Eazy E, some DJ or producer always comes up with just the right “lost verse” from a deceased hip-hop legend that just does not let that legend die in the minds and hearts of the hip-hop community. Though gone in body and mind, these lyrical fiends have pestered along and stood the test of time for years off the strength of remixes and remixes of previous remixes that breath new life into the words and vocals of the deceased.

     Though he only passed recently in late-2004 and left an all-too-short legacy behind, Ol’ Dirty Bastard is no different from the aforementioned artists. His death sparked an onslaught of various mixtapes and rare, exclusive cuts from the man also known as Dirt McGirt, all put out to commemorate the passing of the Wu-Tang brethren known for his wildly outlandish antics and bizarre behavior.

     Osirus: The Official Mixtape (Sure Shot Records), however, boasts the “official” tag for a reason, as it presents the last and most recent tracks recorded by Ol’ Dirty previous to his departure from the flesh. And while the tail-end of Osirus clearly presents material from Dirt that will not serve as the end-all, be-all for his otherwise interesting and prolific career, the first half of the mixtape proves just why Russell Jones was the man referred to as Ol’ Dirty Bastard ? there truly was no father to his style.

     “Niggas out here trying to prove who the realest, it’s okay to pop shit but come a little different,” the difference-seeking O.D.B. raps on the DJ Premier production, “Pop Shots,” where his charismatic and came-to-be-expected yelling on the hook rides out over the bump of another top-notch Premier joint. Over the hard percussion and rolling pianos of Marc Ronson’s “Dirty Dirty,” Dirty and Chicago lyricist Rhymefest spit alongside the catchy kiddie-infected hooks. Rhyme himself pays homage to O.D.B. stating, “What’s the world without Dirt? Just a bunch of fucking water,” before the two emcees go their separate ways.

     Black Rob teams up with Dirty as he rambles on in his usual off-key and oft-kilt style on “High in the Clouds,” a dirty production effort that matches up with the even dirtier emcee rapping, “Feel like every block’s home when the ya is yo, gotta rob a motherfucker when the day is slow.” What would appear to be just smack-talking by any other fellow rhymer comes across as good ol’ fun in the world of Dirty. And the round-up-the-troops effort by Dirt and guest Royal Flush pervades on “If Y’all Want War,” where producer Chops delivers the dark bells and sharp whistles whilst the two emcees take it hard to all comers who want a problem.

      Not all goes well for the Osirus effort, as Southern-sounding production efforts from Chops on “Don’t Stop Ma (Out of Control)” and “Down South” actually tone Ol’ Dirty down and come across as generic club attempts. And “Move Back,” which boasts a guest list including Drag-On, Jae Mills, Cardan, Terra Blacks, and the Lenox Ave. Boys, probably was a late addition to the mixtape, and at over 7 minutes, is hardly worthy of being listed as ODB’s last official song on the mixtape (minus the 2 bonus remixes).

     “I’m the Osirus if this shit, Wu-Tang is here forever,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard once boasted on the Wu’s “Triumph” just under a decade ago, setting the final stage and forum for his last official mixtape, Osirus. Even though another album featuring Dirty’s tracks from his recent Roc-A-Fella days probably lies somewhere in the future, Osirus righteously wraps up O.D.B.’s topsy-turvy career for now. But, as they say, N.E.R.D. Rest in peace, Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

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