Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

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Return to the 36 Chambers:
The Dirty Version
Odb welfare.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 28, 1995
GenreHardcore hip hop
LabelElektra/WMG Records
Ol' Dirty Bastard chronology
Return to the 36 Chambers:
The Dirty Version

Nigga Please
Singles from Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version
  1. "Brooklyn Zoo"
    Released: January 4, 1995
  2. "Shimmy Shimmy Ya"
    Released: May 9, 1995

Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version is the solo debut album of American rapper and Wu-Tang Clan member Ol' Dirty Bastard, released March 28, 1995 on Elektra Records in the United States. It was the second solo album, after Method Man's Tical, to be released from the nine-member Wu-Tang clan, following the release of their debut album. Return to the 36 Chambers was primarily produced by RZA, with additional production from Ol' Dirty Bastard, and affiliates True Master and 4th Disciple. The album features guest appearances from Wu-Tang members GZA, RZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Masta Killa, as well as several Wu-Tang affiliates and Brooklyn Zu.

Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200 and number two on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album sold 81,000 copies in its first week,[1] and was certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on June 21, 1995.[2] Upon its release, the album received positive reviews from most music critics, with many complimenting Ol' Dirty Bastard's bizarre lyrical delivery and RZA's eerie production. The album was nominated for a Grammy award at the 1996 Grammy's for Best Rap Album.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[4]
Christgau's Consumer GuideA−[5]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[6]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[7]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[10]
The Source4/5[12]

Select gave the album a negative review of two out of five.[11] The review found the album inferior to Method Man's album Tical, stating that "From the extremely long and unfunny – intro skit, it's obvious ideas are spread wafer thin across the 15 tracks."[11]

The Dirty Version was nominated for the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, but lost to Naughty by Nature's Poverty's Paradise.

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.

Rolling Stone (4/20/95, p. 78) – 4 Stars – "With his raspy, lisp-punctuated voice and half-sung, half-rapped style, [Ol' Dirty Bastard] may well be the most original vocalist in hip-hop history."

Entertainment Weekly (3/31/95, p. 61) – "This solo effort by a second member of the near-platinum Wu-Tang Clan showcases the raw, innovative talent of their illest member ... The RZA's signature dissonant piano loops [sparkle] behind Dirty's delirious, reverberating delivery." – Rating: A-

Vibe (5/95, p. 97) – "Ol' Dirty's catchy sing-along ... is paired with subtle keyboards and the Rza's typically murky beats, yielding a mystic's brew, which, like all Wu-related fare, defiantly flies in the face of conventions ... the aural pleasures are ... convincing."

The Source (5/95, p. 65) – 4 Stars – "The third shot fired in the Wu-Tang revolution spotlights the crazy drunken flow of the Ol' Dirty Bastard ... a must-have for every real hardcore head ... hardcore lyrics kicked live over a non-stop assault of that addictive Shao-lin funk."

Melody Maker (4/22/95, p. 35) – "... an hour of cruel hard and frighteningly funny hip hop; the perfect companion piece to Wu-Tang's 36 Chambers ... the songs are driven by a vicious, unstable urgency."[13]

Village Voice (2/20/96) – Ranked #39 in Village Voice's 1995 Jazz & Pop Critics' Poll.

Track listing[edit]

2."Shimmy Shimmy Ya"RZA2:41
3."Baby, C'mon"RZA3:26
4."Brooklyn Zoo"True Master, Ol' Dirty Bastard3:37
5."Hippa to da Hoppa"RZA3:01
6."Raw Hide" (featuring Raekwon & Method Man)RZA4:02
7."Damage" (featuring GZA)RZA, 4th Disciple2:47
8."Don't U Know" (featuring Killah Priest)RZA4:26
9."The Stomp"Ol' Dirty Bastard, RZA2:22
10."Goin' Down"RZA4:19
11."Drunk Game (Sweet Sugar Pie)"Ethan Ryman, Ol' Dirty Bastard4:20
12."Snakes" (featuring Killah Priest, RZA, Masta Killa & Buddha Monk)RZA5:26
13."Brooklyn Zoo II (Tiger Crane)" (featuring Ghostface Killah)RZA7:20
14."Proteck Ya Neck II The Zoo" (featuring Brooklyn Zu, Prodigal Sunn, Killah Priest, & 60 Second Assassin)RZA4:00
15."Cuttin' Headz" (featuring RZA)RZA2:28
Total length:59:04




  • Big Dore – producer
  • True Master – producer
  • Ethan Ryman – producer, engineer
  • John Wydrycs, Tim Latham – engineer, mixing
  • Jimmie Lee, Jack Hersca – engineer, assistant engineer
  • Deden Sumandani – mixing
  • Martin Czembor – assistant engineer, mixing
  • David Sealy, Jay Nicholas – assistant engineer
  • Alli – art direction
  • Danny Clinch – photography

Charts and certifications[edit]


Year Chart Position[14]
1995 Billboard 200 7
1995 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 2


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  • The information regarding accolades is adapted from[16]
  • (*) signifies unordered lists
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Blender United States 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die 2003 *
Ego Trip Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98 1999 4
Hip Hop Connection United Kingdom The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995–2005 2005 32
Les Inrockuptibles France Albums of the Year 1995 *
Muzik United Kingdom Albums of the Year 1995 15
Ned Raggett United States The Top 136 Albums of the Nineties 1999 87
Pop Sweden Albums of the Year 1995 14
The Source United States The 100 Best Rap Albums of All Time 1998 *
Spex Germany The 100 Albums of the Century 1999 67
Albums of the Year 1995 1
The Village Voice United States Albums of the Year 1995 39


  1. ^ Snow, Shauna. MORNING REPORT. Los Angeles Times. April 6, 1995.
  2. ^ RIAA search: Return to the 36 Chambers. RIAA. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  3. ^ Huey, Steve. "Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version – Ol' Dirty Bastard". AllMusic. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  4. ^ Johnson, Martin (May 4, 1995). "Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers (Elektra)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  6. ^ Mukherjee, Tiarra (March 31, 1995). "Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  7. ^ Hunt, Dennis (April 16, 1995). "Ol' Dirty Bastard, 'Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version,' Elektra". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 26, 2010.
  8. ^ Young, Jayson (March 15, 2002). "Ol' Dirty Bastard :: Return to the 36 Chambers * The Dirty Version :: Elektra". RapReviews. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Touré (April 20, 1995). "Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 22, 2001. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  10. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Ol' Dirty Bastard". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 602. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ a b c Hall, Matt (May 1995). "Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". Select (59): 99.
  12. ^ "Ol' Dirty Bastard: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". The Source (67): 65. April 1995.
  13. ^ Columnist. Review snipets: Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  14. ^ Chart Positions. Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
  15. ^ "American album certifications – Ol' Dirty Bastard – Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 22, 2017. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  16. ^ Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version Album Accolades. Retrieved 2010-08-16.

External links[edit]