LOS ANGELES -- Just an hour before he would take the stage at the Key Club here Tuesday, Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard claimed that he had no idea that a warrant for his arrest had been ordered earlier that day.
But he sure had a lot to say about it.
Standing in a hallway backstage and wearing the blue athletic outfit in which he'd later perform, the 29-year-old rapper mouthed off with a string of expletives as he expressed shock over the warrant, which was issued Wednesday morning (July 29) after he failed to appear a day earlier in a Virginia Beach, Va., courtroom to answer a shoplifting charge.
"What do they think they're doing? Where did you get that idea?" ODB said. He added angrily, "Those m-----f------ people in Virginia. What are they m-----f------ thinking?"
ODB, who is accused of stealing a pair of $50, size-11 Nike shoes from a
sneaker store on July 4, was then pulled aside mid-rant by one of the many associates in his posse and told not to comment. The rapper returned, adding, "I take all that shit back."
Asked if he had any plans to fly to Virginia to face the charges, ODB said, "Not today. I love it in L.A. The girls' ass look tight. Not a lot of cellulite. ... And I've got shows to do. I'm just chillin'."
The always unpredictable rapper, who announced earlier this year that he was changing his name to Big Baby Jesus and who also calls himself Osirus, identified himself that night as "DJ Coolie Hot." ODB's characteristic irreverence and sarcasm prevailed as he talked about the tour, which kicked off last week, and his plans to record his second solo album, the follow-up to the bizarre and perverse Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, immediately after the tour wraps.
ODB said he plans to release the album by the end of the year, which, he added, is tentatively titled Dirty World.
"Their hands are in the m-----f------ air," he said when asked how Wu-Tang fans have reacted to his solo tour, which marks the first such outing for a member of
the highly acclaimed nine-person crew.
Most ODB fans attending the show said they didn't think it was any big deal that the rapper chose to perform even as a warrant had been ordered for his arrest. "If it was something serious, like he stabbed somebody or something like
that, it would be different," Mario Llana, 23, said. "But he [allegedly] stole
a pair of tennis shoes."
When asked about his alleged shoplifting stint and subsequent ditching of court as well as the rapper's other recent setbacks, including an incident in which he was robbed and shot (he made a full recovery) and the reported theft of his Land Rover in New York City, many of the rapper's fans explained it all away, saying, "That's just ODB."
"It's really just part of being ODB," James Ford, 28, said. "I wouldn't expect any less of him."
The fan speculated that ODB must have been "in a rush" or "really drunk" when he stole the shoes, "because he's making way too much money to be doing something like that." He added that ODB's other troubles are "just part of the lifestyle he's leading."
"ODB has tried to stay in the streets, and that's just part of it," Ford
said. "He'll be around a lot longer than [pop-rapper] Puffy because [ODB]
Deputy John Klaus of the sheriff's department in West Hollywood, where the
Key Club is located, said it is unlikely that ODB will be arrested while
he's in L.A., due to the nature of the charge. "I doubt that Virginia's
willing to extradite him on that charge, so there's no reason for us to
arrest him. What are we going to do with him?"
Rappers Takbir and Ryu of the local hip-hop duo Styles of Beyond, who
opened for ODB, said they were just happy that the Wu-Tang Clan member went on with the show, which was part of a two-night stand at the venue. "I personally would have done it differently and never stolen the shoes in the first place, but it's cool -- it just builds his reputation," the 23-year-old Ryu said.
After Style of Beyond played their set, the Long Beach-based hip-hop group
Black Knights took the stage along with several other rappers.
During their third hip-hop jam, ODB appeared in the back of the venue, a drink in his hand, dancing and yelling, "Yes" and "C'mon!" He then worked his way up to the stage, climbed up (drink still in hand) and began singing along with
the 20 or more other hip-hop artists on a song in which the pivotal lyrics were
"Tell the whole world that we get high."
Meanwhile, the other rappers addressed ODB with praises and referred to him as Jesus. At one point, ODB stopped center-stage in a dead halt, staring up at the balcony with an intense gaze. After a couple of minutes, he loosened his stance and began dancing to the music.
A few minutes later, ODB was on his knees, soulfully singing, "Good Morning Heartache," as the only female rapper on the stage pulled off the rapper's blue jacket and waved it dramatically behind his head.
"What he does is what he does," said Andrew Benson, 22, of L.A. "It could
be his personality, it could be his image, it could be the way he really
is. None of us really know."