Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version [Elektra, 1995]
Yacub's worst nightmare as comedian, moral threat, and nut case, the former Russell Jones walks that three-dimensional tightrope not with grace, and not with hope, either. With faith, maybe--even charity. Certainly with an irrepressible commitment to his own history and culture, however sublumpen the sociology of class and race judges those to be. His compulsion is to turn an absence into a presence. His clownish explosions distance him from how fucked up the violence and pleasures of his culture are and appear, respectively, and his clansmen show us how complex and full of fun their treasure is. "I'm the baddest hip hop man across the world," he sputters, the prized fool in the court of King RZA. A-