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The Dirty Version: On Stage, In the Studio, and In the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard

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On the tenth anniversary of his death, The Dirty Version is the first biography of hip hop superstar and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to be written by someone from his inner circle: his right-hand man and best friend, Buddha Monk. Ol’ Dirty Bastard rocketed to fame with the Wu-Tang Clan, the raucous and renegade group that altered the world of hip On the tenth anniversary of his death, The Dirty Version is the first biography of hip hop superstar and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to be written by someone from his inner circle: his right-hand man and best friend, Buddha Monk. Ol’ Dirty Bastard rocketed to fame with the Wu-Tang Clan, the raucous and renegade group that altered the world of hip hop forever. ODB was one of the Clan’s wildest icons and most inventive performers, and when he died of an overdose in 2004 at the age of thirty-five, millions of fans mourned the loss. ODB lives on in epic proportions and his antics are legend: he once picked up his welfare check in a limousine; lifted a burning car off a four-year-old girl in Brooklyn; stole a fifty-dollar pair of sneakers on tour at the peak of his success. Many have questioned whether his stunts were carefully calculated or the result of paranoia and mental instability. Now, Dirty’s friend since childhood, Buddha Monk, a Wu-Tang collaborator on stage and in the studio, reveals the truth about the complex and talented performer. From their days together on the streets of Brooklyn to the meteoric rise of Wu-Tang’s star, from bouts in prison to court-mandated rehab, from Dirty’s favorite kind of pizza to his struggles with fame and success, Buddha tells the real story—The Dirty Version—of the legendary rapper. 


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On the tenth anniversary of his death, The Dirty Version is the first biography of hip hop superstar and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to be written by someone from his inner circle: his right-hand man and best friend, Buddha Monk. Ol’ Dirty Bastard rocketed to fame with the Wu-Tang Clan, the raucous and renegade group that altered the world of hip On the tenth anniversary of his death, The Dirty Version is the first biography of hip hop superstar and founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to be written by someone from his inner circle: his right-hand man and best friend, Buddha Monk. Ol’ Dirty Bastard rocketed to fame with the Wu-Tang Clan, the raucous and renegade group that altered the world of hip hop forever. ODB was one of the Clan’s wildest icons and most inventive performers, and when he died of an overdose in 2004 at the age of thirty-five, millions of fans mourned the loss. ODB lives on in epic proportions and his antics are legend: he once picked up his welfare check in a limousine; lifted a burning car off a four-year-old girl in Brooklyn; stole a fifty-dollar pair of sneakers on tour at the peak of his success. Many have questioned whether his stunts were carefully calculated or the result of paranoia and mental instability. Now, Dirty’s friend since childhood, Buddha Monk, a Wu-Tang collaborator on stage and in the studio, reveals the truth about the complex and talented performer. From their days together on the streets of Brooklyn to the meteoric rise of Wu-Tang’s star, from bouts in prison to court-mandated rehab, from Dirty’s favorite kind of pizza to his struggles with fame and success, Buddha tells the real story—The Dirty Version—of the legendary rapper. 

30 review for The Dirty Version: On Stage, In the Studio, and In the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shakeia

    I really, really wanted to love this book. I kept seeing it on writers' Instagram pages and thinking, "Oh snap! A book on ODB! That should be crazy interesting!" Then when I looked it up, I saw that the book was written from the perspective of Dirty's right hand man, Buddha Monk, and assumed it would be awesome! Well, it was kind of a let down. The book isn't terrible. It's just... okay. It felt rather flat. The book seems to be, quite literally, transcribed stories from Buddha Monk. The stories I really, really wanted to love this book. I kept seeing it on writers' Instagram pages and thinking, "Oh snap! A book on ODB! That should be crazy interesting!" Then when I looked it up, I saw that the book was written from the perspective of Dirty's right hand man, Buddha Monk, and assumed it would be awesome! Well, it was kind of a let down. The book isn't terrible. It's just... okay. It felt rather flat. The book seems to be, quite literally, transcribed stories from Buddha Monk. The stories seem to be out of order in some spots as we don't remember things chronologically all the time, but it's as if Hess didn't take the time to arrange them. Also, I couldn't help but notice how many times Monk mentions how hard he worked to keep Dirty in line but he was never paid for it, or at least, compensated in a way that he felt was commensurate with the "job". He really seemed to feel sorry for himself at some points. I got the impression he loved ODB a lot, and simultaneously resented him a little. This is a pretty short read. There's lots of information/anecdotes that I probably never would've known, I just wish the narrator/writing had been as exciting as Dirty's rhymes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    This bio is a real eye opener. Anyone who has judged anyone by how they look, talk or even the color of skin... must read this book. The problems people are facing today, they have been facing them for a very long time and it needs to stop. When people think of Dirt McGirt they see hoodlum and when I see Ol' Dirty, I think dad, son, artist and most importantly a human being. Dirty has had a rough life, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his dreams and ambitions. He plowed through all that ne This bio is a real eye opener. Anyone who has judged anyone by how they look, talk or even the color of skin... must read this book. The problems people are facing today, they have been facing them for a very long time and it needs to stop. When people think of Dirt McGirt they see hoodlum and when I see Ol' Dirty, I think dad, son, artist and most importantly a human being. Dirty has had a rough life, but that didn't stop him from pursuing his dreams and ambitions. He plowed through all that negativity and made something of himself. But beyond all that, he never forgot where he came from. Through his astonishing life, he dealt with the good and the bad. Towards the end, the bad took over and it destroyed a life. The only thing that I didn't get was how this was an ODB bio. It should have been a Buddha bio featuring ODB, Unique, Dirt McGirt.... whatever name you most remember him by. It was still a phenomenal read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    Found out he was arrested while buying a Filet-o-Fish 10/10

  4. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Although I was never a big Wu-Tang Clan fan, you really don’t need to be in order to find member Ol’ Dirty Bastard and his antics fascinating. It’s been 10 years since he died at the young age of 35 and besides the many media stories about his brushes with the law and drugs, there’s very little known about Russell Jones, the man. The Dirty Version is written by his best friend Buddha Monk who is also a rapper and producer. On the one hand it’s great to get a first hand account from someone who w Although I was never a big Wu-Tang Clan fan, you really don’t need to be in order to find member Ol’ Dirty Bastard and his antics fascinating. It’s been 10 years since he died at the young age of 35 and besides the many media stories about his brushes with the law and drugs, there’s very little known about Russell Jones, the man. The Dirty Version is written by his best friend Buddha Monk who is also a rapper and producer. On the one hand it’s great to get a first hand account from someone who was with Dirty sometimes 24/7. On the other hand, that makes this more of a story about their friendship rather than a straight biography. Buddha can come off as a little self-serving at times when talking about all of the work he did for Dirty and was never paid for or anecdotes about his own rap career. If you a hip-hop fan, this will be an interesting read, but will ultimately leave you wanting more.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Josh Stoken

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. -The book I choose to read was The Dirty Version. It was a book about a rapping legend Ol Dirty Bastard who was apart of the rap group called Wu tang clan named after an old karate movie that the group had seen together. The book started from the birth til death of Ol Dirty Bastard from his best friend perspective Buddha monk. Buddha talks about Ol Dirty Bastards every day life and tells some crazy stories that he, dirty and wu tang had together before and during the fame. I loved everything abo -The book I choose to read was The Dirty Version. It was a book about a rapping legend Ol Dirty Bastard who was apart of the rap group called Wu tang clan named after an old karate movie that the group had seen together. The book started from the birth til death of Ol Dirty Bastard from his best friend perspective Buddha monk. Buddha talks about Ol Dirty Bastards every day life and tells some crazy stories that he, dirty and wu tang had together before and during the fame. I loved everything about this book I would not change anything except to add some pictures and spread them out instead of having them all in one section in the middle. -There are many characters in the book but the book mainly only covered the two main characters, Ol Dirty Bastard and Buddha Monk. Ol Dirty Bastard is a one in a million there is no one like him. Dirty has a certain flow that only he can rap, He shares his money with his people, he does anything he wants to, he’ loud and crazy. Buddha Monk on the other hand is the complete opposite of Ol Dirty Bastard unless he is with him and Buddha is never not with Dirty because he is trying to keep him calm and out of trouble with the law. I can honestly say I can’t relate to any of the two main characters but if I had to choose I can relate more with Buddha Monk just because he doesn’t do drug and he is calm and relaxed most of the time. -The theme in this book is violence, there are many times when Dirty B. gets mad and starts to threaten people. When Dirty is high on drugs there are also a lot of intense parts where he starts to swear a lot and act violent. There is a part in the book when Ol Dirty Bastard’s house gets robbed and he gets shot and gets beaten on. There are not a ton of calm and relaxed parts in the book. -This book is definitely not meant for anyone younger than sixteen just because of the content in the book and the language in the book and this book is not meant for just anyone This book is made for true fans of rap, Wu Tang Clan fans and fans of Ol Dirty Bastard. If you don’t enjoy any of these 3 things i just listed then this book is most likely not meant for you to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Krein

    whoooo boy where do i begin with a book like this? like, i guess i should have known that this was not going to be the greatest book of all time. but in reading it, i couldn't help but be incredibly frustrated with just how lazy of a book it is. yes, it is just transcriptions of buddha monk talking about his life with ODB. and yes some of these stories are great, and funny, but man- it is so repetitive, and at times buddha feels sorry for himself, or glosses over thing that could use a little bit whoooo boy where do i begin with a book like this? like, i guess i should have known that this was not going to be the greatest book of all time. but in reading it, i couldn't help but be incredibly frustrated with just how lazy of a book it is. yes, it is just transcriptions of buddha monk talking about his life with ODB. and yes some of these stories are great, and funny, but man- it is so repetitive, and at times buddha feels sorry for himself, or glosses over thing that could use a little bit better explanation. also, just a small detail, when buddha is talking about how ODB got on stage at the grammy awards and said wu tang is for the children, he makes mention of when kanye interrupted taylor swift. however he says it was at the grammys. it wasn't. i think it would have behooved either buddah monk or his transcriber to, you know, fact check something so simple. whatever. RIP ol' dirty bastard. you are gone but never forgotten.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Bulat

    Growing up on the Brooklyn streets was difficult, but especially hard to come out of it as something. Russell Jones (a.k.a. Ol' Dirty Bastard) started rapping and rhyming on a street corner with his old friends back in Brooklyn. Once he was able to sign a record deal he became known as a great rapper because of his very unique rapping style. Ol' Dirty did it all: from girls, to drugs, to owning multiple homes, stealing, and even picking up welfare checks in a limousine. I liked this story becaus Growing up on the Brooklyn streets was difficult, but especially hard to come out of it as something. Russell Jones (a.k.a. Ol' Dirty Bastard) started rapping and rhyming on a street corner with his old friends back in Brooklyn. Once he was able to sign a record deal he became known as a great rapper because of his very unique rapping style. Ol' Dirty did it all: from girls, to drugs, to owning multiple homes, stealing, and even picking up welfare checks in a limousine. I liked this story because of the unbound characteristics of the characters, especially Ol' Dirty. He was one of the most untamed rappers in one of the most untamed rap groups, the Wu Tang Clan. I like and admire how much passion Ol' Dirty had for his kids, friends, and music.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rahul Hewapatha

    one of the best new age biographies! ODB and Wu tan forever! Godbless buddha monk!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shanice

    This wasn't the best book I've ever read and I felt the narrator inserted himself in the story a bit too much for my liking but it did humanize a figure who's reached mythical proportions in pop culture. When people talk about Russell Jones it doesn't feel like they're talking about a human being. Stories of ODB tend to verge on the folkloric. We remember him in his most outrageous moments: interrupting an acceptance speech at the Grammys to proclaim that "Wu-Tang is for the children.", showing This wasn't the best book I've ever read and I felt the narrator inserted himself in the story a bit too much for my liking but it did humanize a figure who's reached mythical proportions in pop culture. When people talk about Russell Jones it doesn't feel like they're talking about a human being. Stories of ODB tend to verge on the folkloric. We remember him in his most outrageous moments: interrupting an acceptance speech at the Grammys to proclaim that "Wu-Tang is for the children.", showing up for a Wu-Tang concert after escaping rehab and somehow making it out of the venue without getting arrested, sneaking out of a hospital after having been shot and left for dead… all these stories are true and they are all fascinating but our fascination with ODB as a figure and not as a man is partially what killed him. We assumed that his insistence that the FBI and the police were after him/monitoring him were all a part of his bizarre persona. We chalked up his missed concert dates and strange television appearances to him just being ODB. When it turned out he was right. The FBI really was watching him. The police really were monitoring/following and harassing him. He really did need help and sympathy. Again, this book isn't the best I've read but it's the most humanizing and touching thing I've read about ODB. You'll find yourself smiling at some of the anecdotes and touched by his generosity and overwhelming need to be loved. There will be moments where you won't like him and will lament his terrible lapses in judgment. And you'll mourn over the change in his personality towards the end of his life. You'll find yourself wondering about all the Black people whose lives have been swallowed up by mental health/prison institutions. How many Black people have we overly medicated? How many Black people have we misdiagnosed? How many Black have we put into prison instead of therapy? How are we are ruining the lives of incarcerated Black people by not preparing them for life outside of prison walls? How are institutions traumatizing Black people on a daily basis? This isn't just a story about ODB. It's a story about race and how often white supremacy crushes the spirits and lives of Black people. It's a story about the responsibility we all have to see each other. His life could've been saved so many times if people had really taken the time to really see him. To really get to the bottom of what was propelling his behavior and choices. I do believe that ODB was a fun man and that some of his antics were meant to make us laugh but sometimes there's something underneath the surface that gets missed when we don't allow people to exist complex beings.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Daniel N

    I was really excited when this book was released. First off the book is a really quick read. I felt like if I stopped reading it I would not go back to finish it. The story is told by his good friend Buddha Monk. At points I thought the books should be aptly titled the Buddha Monk Story. All and All the book was just OK. There were a few little stories that were interesting but it was not what I had hoped for.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Daryl

    Just enough info about ODB to be entertaining. It's more of a self-serving friend-biography for Buddha Monk than it should be. Just enough info about ODB to be entertaining. It's more of a self-serving friend-biography for Buddha Monk than it should be.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tobias

    Review TK.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda (Tholke) Hollenkamp

    Better than l thought it'd be. Really gave a good glimpse into his life from someone down there in the trenches with him. Better than l thought it'd be. Really gave a good glimpse into his life from someone down there in the trenches with him.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Donnie

    Definitely worth reading if yr into Wu Tang/Ol Dirty!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tomos Owen

    I love the history of hip hop and the influence Wu Tang’s unique approach to lyricism and style has on the genre. ODB’s style and originality is undeniable and I was really looking forward to some insight into his outrageous antics, musical style and life story.....it is not delivered in this book. It is poorly written, not really in chronological order and formatted poorly. The story doesn’t seem to follow a linear story and fails to delve into interesting facets of ODB’s life and career and eve I love the history of hip hop and the influence Wu Tang’s unique approach to lyricism and style has on the genre. ODB’s style and originality is undeniable and I was really looking forward to some insight into his outrageous antics, musical style and life story.....it is not delivered in this book. It is poorly written, not really in chronological order and formatted poorly. The story doesn’t seem to follow a linear story and fails to delve into interesting facets of ODB’s life and career and eventually death. If I had to guess the book was rushed and formatted with random memories and possibly notes without really digging into Ol’ dirty bastards upbringing, musical influence, the streets, fame and fortune ect and was published to make a quick dollar. Buddha monk comes across bitter throughout and always aims the story towards himself and his musical ambitions. I only gave it a second star because I love the Wu ⚔️

  16. 4 out of 5

    J.C.

    So I did a lot of skimming on this one. Not a lot of showing, mostly just telling. If I hadn't special ordered it I probably would could have quit around page 50. Sorry. Still the greatest rapper ever though. So I did a lot of skimming on this one. Not a lot of showing, mostly just telling. If I hadn't special ordered it I probably would could have quit around page 50. Sorry. Still the greatest rapper ever though.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Great book about Buddha Monk of the Brooklyn Zu and how he was right by Ol Dirty Bastard's side. Very smooth interesting read. I jumped in and hit the ground running. Also shows his involvement with the rest of Wu-Tang Clan. Great read for any Wu fan and still a great read for a non fan. Great book about Buddha Monk of the Brooklyn Zu and how he was right by Ol Dirty Bastard's side. Very smooth interesting read. I jumped in and hit the ground running. Also shows his involvement with the rest of Wu-Tang Clan. Great read for any Wu fan and still a great read for a non fan.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Patrone

    For anyone out there interested in the trials and tribulations of Buddha Monk, have I got a book for you.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brandi

    Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess's "The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard" is entertaining and interesting enough, though it could be better. At times it felt more like the book centered around Buddha Monk rather than ODB. Overall, though, the stories were interesting and shed some light on the artist, his antics, and who he was. I would rate the book 3.8 and recommend it to fans of Wu-Tang Clan, ODB and/or hip-hop. It's a quick read and a good book to Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess's "The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol' Dirty Bastard" is entertaining and interesting enough, though it could be better. At times it felt more like the book centered around Buddha Monk rather than ODB. Overall, though, the stories were interesting and shed some light on the artist, his antics, and who he was. I would rate the book 3.8 and recommend it to fans of Wu-Tang Clan, ODB and/or hip-hop. It's a quick read and a good book to read while travelling.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ovidiu Boar

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peter Tarrant

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zaki

  24. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Hess

  25. 4 out of 5

    Adam Platsky

  26. 4 out of 5

    Greggins

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mitzi

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mj Sheppard

  30. 4 out of 5

    James Powell

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