The surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan have regrouped to record a tribute to fallen colleague Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who died in November while working on his first album since being released from jail in 2003.
Wu-Tang principal RZA says the track, tentatively titled “I Go Through Life,” will hopefully appear on ODB’s album, which will be a joint venture between RZA’s Wu-Tang Records imprint and the new Damon Dash Music Group.
“Every member is on it so far, besides Ghostface Killah,” RZA told Billboard.com. “Method Man was the first guy to do his verse. Raekwon and GZA did their verses pronto. I had to take some time with U-God. Cappadonna is on it also. All I need is my Ghostface verse and it will be one of the first recordings in three or four years with every member again.”
“This is a gift to ODB and the fans, so the fans can feel our love,” RZA continued. “Everybody’s got something to say about it. Raekwon had one line like, ’One day I’ll put a statue in my house to resemble you / so my son can resemble you.’ I haven’t played it for too many people, (but) me and Quentin (Tarantino) were hanging out a couple weeks ago. He came by my studio and I played it for him, and he said he caught a chill.”
Ol’ Dirty Bastard (real name: Russell Jones) collapsed and died in a New York recording studio on Nov. 13. An autopsy ascribed the cause to an accidental overdose of cocaine and the prescription drug Tramadol, which is usually prescribed to treat severe pain.
The night ODB died, RZA recalled he had an uncharacteristically frank conversation with him about “getting things back on track and clearing away all the things on the table. We wanted to focus on the Wu legacy plan we had. He was getting things together, but there were still some crinkles he needed to iron out. It was really one of the first times he saw it. He agreed with almost everything I was saying. I was glad. I was happy.”
In light of the death, RZA said he was thrilled Dash reached out to him to work together on the album, due March 22. “He can use the Wu-Tang’s support, and my creative energy and support, to help guide the project, for the benefit of ODB’s family and for the legacy of the Wu-Tang.”
Method Man, Raekwon and Macy Gray appear on the proposed first single, “Intoxicated,” which RZA produced and described as “pretty unique.” About five other tracks he collaborated on with ODB are expected to make the final cut, including “The Stomp Part 2,” on which ODB “got a chance to be his crazy self.”
“I also helped guide tracks produced by other people,” RZA said. “I think we may end up with a 13- to 16-cut album, so you’ll have about 35% of that Wu flavor, that abstract noise, you know what I mean? The songs I did with him -- if anything makes it to the radio, I’ll be surprised.” Other producers lending a hand on the set included the Neptunes, Just Blaze and DJ Premier.