On December 2nd, Faber and Faber are set to publish Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography/monograph by local Brooklyn resident Jaime Lowe, which was originally born out of 2005 Voice piece. The bulletproof Big Baby Jesus died of a heart attack/drug overdose four years ago today — too much living. In honor of the moment, we present an excerpt from Lowe’s book, paying tribute to the rapper’s fierce liquor brand loyalty.
ODB, in his prime, wasn’t for sale. The only product he ever mentioned was Olde English, and he invested more in the malt liquor than the company did in him. Even announcing the TV station he was actually on was a fight. In 1996, John Norris tried about ten times to get Dirt to say he was doing an interview with MTV but Dirt wouldn’t. He rolled his eyes or bugged them out and brushed off whatever attempt was made to pretend to have a conversation. Norris worked hard to act natural throughout the interview while Dirt lounged on the sofa, facing his crotch towards the camera. Finally Norris reached the point of exasperation and simply announced the next guest.
“Do you know Drew Barrymore?” he asked ODB.
“Na. Who?” ODB said.
“Drew Barrymore. She was in E.T.”
“Na, all I remember is that nigga that was riding the bike in the sky.”
In an appearance on Carson Daly’s Last Call, RZA described an incident when they were teenagers in Brooklyn. “It was like, ‘You, some guys from Bensonhurst beat us up!’ So we went to go help. We ran out there and ODB thought it was going to be a couple guys. It ended up being fifteen guys lined up with broken beer bottles all over the place … and we had … a brown paper bag and puts his hand in the bag and says, ‘Back up! Everybody back up!’ So everybody starts backing up. They was scared. But this one guy was so drunk that he just kept coming … So OD was like, ‘Back up! Back up! Backup!’ and the guy was like ‘Shoot me! Shoot me!’ So OD took his hand out of the bag and was like moving his hand around, ‘No man, you know I won’t shoot you.’ There was no gun,” RZA recalled. “It was a bag of Dipsy Doodles.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 13, 2008