It’s fitting that Russell Jones, best known as Ol’ Dirty Bastard, had so many monikers over the years, as he meant many things to many people.
“He was a genius,” said Pharrell Williams, who produced ODB’s biggest hit (“Got Your Money”) and was working on his upcoming Dirt McGirt album. “And he was a great guy.”
“He was one of my favorite rappers of all time,” added Kanye West, Dirty’s labelmate at Roc-A-Fella Records. “His voice was unmatched. There was a time, when I was trying to get into hip-hop, when I would have cut off a piece of my finger to have his voice.”
“He was a brother,” said Snoop Dogg, who recently collaborated on a track for ODB’s upcoming album.
By Sunday, word of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s death the day before had spread across a shaken hip-hop community, which has lost so many of its icons at young ages (see “Rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard Dies” ).
“We sad about it,” Snoop said. “We troubled because that was one of our brothers. It touches right at home. But at the same time, God has a plan. And we know he’s in a better place and we pray for his family.”
“It’s a tragedy,” Outkast’s Big Boi added. “Prayers go out to all his kids and his family. It just goes to show you have to live life to the fullest.”
As ODB’s peers mourned the loss of one of the most eccentric personalities in rap, they remembered him for both his talent and his antics. (Click for photos of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s life and career .)
“That was my man ’cause he crazy with it,” Twista said. “He [didn't] even care. He [was] going to say what he want to say, and it’s going to sound real good. It’s a tragic loss, him being so young and all. I just want to give my blessings and condolences to his family. We gonna keep bumping ODB and Wu-Tang Clan forever.”
“ODB was very influential on me,” added Chingy. “The whole Wu-Tang Clan inspired me. I used to watch them in the beginning.”
ODB’s death has also stunned the pop music community, where the rapper made a mark through collaborations with Mariah Carey and, most recently, JC Chasez.
“He was a great guy,” said Chasez, who worked with ODB on a remix of his single “Some Girls (Dance With Women).” “I had a lot of fun working with him. When we were working together, he was in great spirits, and he was focused. He was pulling his life together. He was nothing but wonderful to me.”
“I didn’t know ODB personally, but he was definitely a different individual,” said Usher.
“My mouth just dropped, ” JoJo said. “Nobody deserves to die that young. It’s terrible. He was so talented.”