To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s solo debut, Return to the 36th Chambers: The Dirty Version, the late Wu-Tang member’s estate collaborated with Rhino Records for a remastered re-release featuring the original album material alongside unreleased tracks and instrumentals. Amazon Music also released a 16-minute documentary to commemorate the occasion as well. When Record Store Day rolls around on April 18th, a special 3,000 copy limited edition vinyl collection will hit store shelves as well.
Speaking with hitmusic, ODB’s widow Icelene Jones and son Young Dirty Bastard discuss everything from the Return to the 36th Chambers: The Dirty Version re-release to the day-to-day life of running his estate alongside television and film portrayals.
hitmusic: As executors of ODB’s estate, can you recall putting together the 25th anniversary release from inception to completion alongside the Amazon documentary Ol’ Dirty Bastard and the Legacy of ‘Return to the 36 Chambers’?”
Icelene Jones: Amazon reached out to us and they wanted to do a documentary. We thought it was really cool because we, representing ODB as his estate administrator with my son as the face alongside Taniqua and Shaquita, knew that this time was coming. We were preparing to do something really big event wise but, due to the COVID-19, we had to figure something else out to keep his name out there. We’re pushing really hard.
hitmusic: Can you both recall the making of and eventual release roll out for Return To The 36th Chamber back in ’95 from your individual vantage point?
Icelene Jones: I know we would go through a lot of him asking me how this or that sounded during the creation at home before he would go to the studio. There were times where the studio was at RZA’s house and they would record certain things there. The children and I would be there but of course, we wouldn’t when the guys would be in the studio drinking. It was an exciting time and it was a lot of energy. ODB was filled with a lot of energy and always knew what he wanted to do. In his mind, he all had it laid out.
Photo: Al Pereira
hitmusic: Since you would have been possibly too little to remember that particular time, when was the moment you understood the reality of your father alongside the acclaim Return To The 36th Chambersgets to this day?
Young Dirty Bastard: I was like six years old when it was initially released but I realized the magnitude of everything, to be honest, really right now. The world is still moving and his movement is still being pushed. It’s inspired all of us to keep Hip Hop alive.
hitmusic: Can you all give the rundown of being an executor of ODB’s estate in relation to how the day-to-day work?
Icelene Jones: It’s a lot because I have my three children under me, the estate and then you have a regular life. I also have a son that’s thirteen years old. I’m constantly attacked but now we’re doing a lot of positive pushing. I sort of have everything under control and the attacking has slowed. The negativity has slowed down since we’re making bigger moves and we’re positive people. I’m grateful for all of it including Wu-Tang, Amazon, Elecktra, Rhino and Warner Music.
It’s a beautiful thing but a lot of day-to-day work. When I get up in the morning, I hit the computer. I gotta get on conference calls, type up some stuff, get to the post office, go to UPS and make stuff happen. It’s a wonderful thing but it’s a family effort. When I get overwhelmed, that’s when the children get involved. Taniqua and Shaquita are on the computer a lot and we’re making phone calls all day. My son is out there going from place to place telling people we exist. Everyone is doing their part including Messiah Jacobs, who helps keep everything manageable. He’s a good aspect and partner.
Photo: Al Pereira
hitmusic: There’s this kind of polarizing attitude many have about reality television and you star in Growing Up Hip Hop: New York. How much does that add to the brand and should we expect you all next season?
Young Dirty Bastard: Right now we’re trying to see what’s going on with the obvious situation we’re going through. I have no problem hopping back on TV for you guys as soon as things calm down. I alongside my sisters Taniqua and Shaquita are going to be a big success in pushing our father’s name. We had a reality show we were going to do way before Growing Up Hip Hop. There is something coming soon. We will have a TV show representing the Jones family.
Icelene Jones: I wanna show what daily life is like being an administrator dealing with the estate. Basically, just jumping into the position he was in on the business side of things. I’m doing this and my son is doing the musical side. It’s a lot of things going on. You’re trying to keep his name right and that people don’t take what they don’t deserve. You’re fighting for a cause. People don’t understand and act like I’m this mean person. Some people get Icelene confused with being an administrator from the outside perspective. I can’t be Icelene when it comes to family, money and outside children. I could be an administrator who takes care of whatever funds are going to the estate and I’m responsible for all the deals. I make sure things are handled on a responsible and professional level. We have a music attorney, we have a business attorney and sometimes we have to hire attorneys for different situations.
hitmusic: Are there any unreleased ODB vocals left in the stash?
Young Dirty Bastard: Ah yes. There definitely are. He was an artist who didn’t stop working. More importantly, he was a giver. He doesn’t even have to release another song because we’re still spinning Return To The 36th Chambers: The Dirty Version.
hitmusic: Any thoughts on TJ Atoms’ performance of ODB on Hulu’s Wu-Tang series?
Young Dirty Bastard: TJ Atoms is a great person. I met him at a party RZA was having. He’s a good person but, in the future we want you to see the real ODB. We don’t want you to see something that was told by other people. The story could have been told better from our campaign.
Icelene Jones: My thoughts are that I didn’t care too much for his acting but, I think he did a good job. He did what he was told to do. That’s all he could do. My husband was not goofy and didn’t sit around burping all loud. My husband was a serious person. He made jokes and was funny at times. It was just so much more to him. We noticed that people who didn’t know him liked it.
hitmusic: A few years ago news came about regarding an ODB biopic through Sony Pictures with RZA as a producer. What was the status of that before the big Hollywood shutdown?
Icelene Jones: It was being advertised as if there were talks of a movie, but we didn’t get anywhere in regards to casting. I guess it’ll be a little easier to do an ODB movie than Wu-Tang movie because you’re dealing with different artists and whatnot. With an ODB movie, you’re just dealing with me. We’re still trying to get the right people in place to get the movie done. We want to do it. We just need the right person to make it happen.
Follow the ODB estate @oldirtybastardlegacy on Instagram and stream the classic album down below.