The death of Mr. Bastard

The Washington Post runs a lengthy AP obituary of the rapper known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard: “Rapper O.D.B. collapses, dies in studio.” Here’s the lede:

The rap artist O.D.B., whose demented rhymes, wild lifestyle and incessant legal troubles made him one of the most vivid characters in hip-hop, collapsed and died inside a recording studio Saturday. He was 35.

Mr. Bastard originally displayed his rapping chops in Wu-Tang Clan, where he rhymed with fellow Clan members Method Man, RZA and Ghostface Killa and perfected his “utterly unique delivery” (ouch!).
As was the custom of Clan members, Mr. Bastard pursued solo projects while in the group. The AP notes that among the “best” of the hit singles released by Clan members was Mr. Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” The AP doesn’t quote any of Mr. Bastard’s handiwork from “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” To get a flavor of Mr. Bastard’s artistry, check the chorus:

Hey, baby, I like it rawww…
Yeah baby, I like it RAWWW!!!
Ooh, baby, I like it raww…
Yeah baby, I like it RAWWW!!!
Sh…

Mr. Bastard’s stardom coincided with remarkably erratic behavior:

In February 1998, he crashed the stage at the Grammy Awards and hijacked a microphone from singer Shawn Colvin as she accepted an award, apparently upset over losing the best rap album Grammy to P. Diddy (then known as Puff Daddy). He complained that he spent a lot of money for new clothes because he thought he was going to win. The rapper later apologized.
Over the years, he was wounded in shootings and arrested on a veritable laundry list of charges, including menacing security officers, illegally possessing body armor, driving with a suspended license, shoplifting and threatening a former girlfriend.
In 2001 he was sentenced to two to four years in prison for drug possession, plus two concurrent years for escaping from a rehab clinic.

Mr. Bastard was also known as O.D.B., Dirt McGirt, Big Baby Jesus or his legal name of Russell Jones. He leaves behind 13 children fathered with an assortment of women, none of whom the AP reached for comment.

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