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A fan's exploration of the man behind the myth
Ol' Dirty Bastard (aka Russell Jones) rose to fame with the Wu-Tang Clan in the early '90s, his unorthodox rap style and reputation for erratic behavior putting him in a media spotlight. As a solo artist, he released two albums that went gold and achieved crossover fame through a duet with Mariah Carey that debuted at number one on the "Billboard "charts. But for the next decade, his life would be fueled by chaos and excess until it derailed completely, resulting in a fatal drug overdose in 2004 and leaving behind an enigmatic legacy and a remarkably diverse group of fans.
In a compelling combination of personal narrative, biography, and cultural criticism, "Digging for Dirt "explores ODB's life, career, mythology, death, and the troubled trajectory of his public and private worlds. Jaime Lowe met with the people ODB affected and was most affected by surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan, his hip-hop contemporaries, his parents, his followers, his managers, his neighbors, and his friends in an attempt to figure out the man behind the clown-prince persona, and the issues of race, celebrity, mental illness, and exploitation that surrounded his rise and fall.
About the Author
Jaime Lowe's writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Interview, Radar, and Sports Illustrated. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
“Digging for Dirt isn't a biography, but a kaleidoscopic exploration of the tragic and comic saga of hip-hop's wildest wild card. Jamie Lowe offers a passionate but clear-eyed view of ODB's chaotic, troubled life and legacy.”—Alan Light, former editor-in-chief of VIBE and SPIN magazines “Lowe tells ODB’s tale admirably [and] thoroughly, making this a must-have profile of a singular personality and another sad casualty in rap history.” —Mike Tribby, Booklist
“Interweaving biography, cultural criticism, and personal narrative, Lowe uses her skills as a journalist and hip-hop enthusiast to probe the depth of Ol’ Dirty Bastard . . . Lowe’s portrait reveals ODB as a far more complex character than what the headlines would lead people to believe. His life, like his style, is a compilation of contradictions, parody, and tragedy. Recommended.” —Joshua Finnell, Library Journal
“The late firecracker MC gets his due . . . Rousing and well-informed.” —Kirkus Reviews