ODB Album Preview: Star-Studded A Son Unique Is Radio Ready

Missy Elliott, Pharrell, Joe Budden help preserve his legacy on posthumous LP.

One of the most animated rappers of all time, Ol' Dirty Bastard is still riffing about sex, drugs, jail and tomfoolery. Only now he's not around see his fans enjoy it.

And it seems like a lot of people will be enjoying A Son Unique, since the rapper's first posthumous LP is definitely his most radio-ready album. It's thick with featured guests, including Missy Elliott, Pharrell and Joe Budden, but it also preserves the unique chemistry ODB shared with fellow Wu-Tangers RZA and Ghostface.

The June 21 release showcases the likes of the Neptunes, Macy Gray, Beanie Sigel, Raekwon, N.O.R.E., Lil' Fame of M.O.P., Clipse, Young Gunz's Young Chris and Method Man.

The standout track is "Back in the Air," featuring Ghostface, on which rolling bass-guitar samples flow throughout while soothing horns slide. "This is Dirt McGirt, not P. Diddy," Big Baby Jesus says just before he threatens that the "bitch better have my money." Ah, the kid was in his element.

RZA produced four songs on the 13-cut effort, including "Back in the Air" and the aesthetically conceptual "Stomp," which features a marching army echoing in the shadows. "Intoxicated" also displays the legendary Wu posse chemistry.

Elliott, one of the record's many radio familiars, appears on a track produced by British DJ Mark Ronson, who samples a thundering, wild-piano riff. While the chorus sings, "Dirt Dog, Dirt Dog, he's our man/ If he can't do it no one can," a crazy-sounding ODB says he's "Wu-Tang's new John Coltrane."

DJ Premier shows up on "Pop Shots," which is also the first single. Using the trademark horns that have made Premier famous, Lil' Fame rips through the track with a cottonmouth flow. Meanwhile, Dirt Dog hollers "pop shots" offbeat while Beanie Sigel growls, "Roc-A-Fella, Roc-A-Fella, Roc-A-Fella" in the background.

The Neptunes-produced "Operator" showcases both Pharrell and Clipse. The female-oriented track utilizes crazy drums but doesn't outdo the Damon Elliott-produced "ODB Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Macy Gray, who makes a couple of appearances on the disc, joins Dirty for the off-key and peculiar cover of the song originally performed by Elton John and Kiki Dee. Suffice it to say, it's a novelty track.

N.O.R.E. hops on the Dame Grease-produced "Dirty & Grimey." It features electronics reminiscent of a video game, with the two MCs rhyming back and forth. Meanwhile, Dirty shouts out to Slick Rick's "A Teenage Love" on his track "Don't Hurt Me Again."

Unfortunately, an ODB tribute song recorded by Wu-Tang was not finished in time to make the album, but it should be on the soundtrack to the upcoming film "Death of a Dynasty," according to a spokesperson.

Although ODB's passed on, his label, friends and cohorts refuse to let his legacy waste away. And with 13 tracks of well-formulated and exciting beats, ODB's wildly endearing personality still shines through to his fans on A Son Unique.