Ol' Dirty Bastard's legacy is getting the full-on Tupac treatment this year. In May, the Rock the Bells tour announced its September-October lineup will include "original virtual performances" by the late Wu-Tang Clan rapper, though ODB's widow has since tried to stop any such holographic resurrections. When Wu-Tang Clan release their overdue 20th-anniversary album, A Better Tomorrow, ODB is likely set for a reincarnation on wax, as well.
Previously unreleased rhymes from ODB will appear on the album, Wu-Tang member Inspectah Deck has told The Line of Best Fit. "RZA has a bunch of Ol’ Dirty tracks and verses that for years nobody’s heard and, from my last conversation [with RZA], we’re supposed to have an Ol’ Dirty track on there," Inspectah Deck is quoted as saying. "It may be by itself or we might join it on to another song. But Ol’ Dirty is going to be part of this album, that’s a fact.”
A Better Tomorrow, which is reportedly still a tentative title, was previously penciled in for a July release, according to an April press release. However, the actual 20th anniversary of the release of 36 Chambers comes in November, so a delay isn't much of a surprise, particularly in the postponement-prone world of rap releases. The same press releases said the Wu would perform some new material in their July 25 and 26 U.K. shows, which, why look at the date!
The new album wouldn't be the first instance of archival ODB material surfacing posthumously on a Wu record. His voice appeared on "16th Chamber (ODB Special)," a bonus track from 2007's 8 Diagrams, released three years after the rapper's death from a drug overdose.
Though details about the forthcoming LP are scarce, Wu-Tang Clan has already shared some new music this year. The hard-noised "customer appreciation" single "Execution in Autumn" surfaced in May, followed by the unabashedly nostalgic, O-Jays-sampling "Family Reunion" in early June.
On top of that, an ODB biopic is in the works starring The Wire's Michael K. Williams (Omar, meet Russell Jones), who has certified it 100 percent "buffoonery"-free. In September, ODB's Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version was reissued as a box set containing a replica of the food stamp card depicted on the album's cover art.