Sunday, December 12, 2010

Busta Rhymes & Ol' Dirty Bastard - Woo Haa!! Remix

I don't have to tell anyone who was alive in the '90s about the original version of this song, but it's my experience that most people don't know this remix. It's also my experience that this might be the weirdest act of rapping committed to tape. If that's not true, I'd love to hear what's weirder.

The track starts almost identical to the original, just a notch slower, but wait. . . what's going on in the background? Yes, buried in the mix, hollering and howling like a drunk singing in the subway, it's the Ol' Dirty Bastard. This anti-intro hardly prepares the listener for the insanity that follows once we can mostly make out what ODB is saying, and once we can clearly hear his positively Beefheartian vocal melodies. He turns Busta Rhymes's song -- which, with its tritone bassline and eerie "yaa yaa yaa" chorus, was already pretty cartoonish and irreverant -- into something that can hardly be heard as pop music.

Busta opens telling us how dominant his squad is, to which ODB responds that "we on some outerspace shit like you watch Star Trek." It's pretty clear from what follows that "we" might just be ODB and his various personalities (Big Baby Jesus, Dirt McGirt). Each free associatively nasty ("I had a wet dream that I was boning Jody Watley") or crazed line is half-rapped/half-sung/half-shouted in a different psychotic voice, and many are elongated long in to the next line as though the rapper is too drunk and high to realize that something else is going on. One could in fact speculate on the state of the Wu Tang maestro's consciousness, but whatever was going on the recording studio that day, it must be acknowledged the advanced musicality involved in taking rapping to this level of experimentation.

If you don't buy that, take a listen again to the third minute of the song. After a trippy bridge where several of the sounds play backward and both men rap simultaneously kind of like they don't want you to hear what they're saying, Busta seems to try to bring the song back to earth with a verse of fairly conventional content and meter. ODB will have none of it, though, as he comes in at 2:59 with a half unintelligible verse (what does he say about a "fungus bowl"?) that's based around a short melodic phrase that has nothing to do with the rest of the song, and is laid down with a rhythmic sensibility as free any free jazzman's. The verse ends with two seconds (3:18-3:20) during which he sounds like he's choking on his tongue. . . then spits out that phrase one more time.

Oh, and the video's pretty weird too.


  1. I haven't thought about this song since 10th grade or something. I'm glad to hear it again. Man, this shit it weird.

  2. I'm no authority, but IMHO Ol' Dirty was the last great rapper. Lil Wayne has surprised and amused from time to time but I lost interest in him after watching the documentary. Dirty ventured further and deeper than anyone on every level, I'd say mostly because he was so far down the road of "I don't give a fuck". It worked for and against him in the long run, since it applied to all aspects of his life, giving us wildly shitty to wildly genius bits of audio. If only his body hadn't given up...