This Week in Hip-Hop/R&B History: Ol’ Dirty Bastard Releases Debut Single “Brooklyn Zoo”


— Ol’ Dirty Bastard, original member of the illustrious Wu-Tang Clan, jumpstarted his solo career with the release of “Brooklyn Zoo” in February 1995.

Exactly twenty-three years ago, the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard released his debut single ahead of his upcoming debut solo album, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. That single, “Brooklyn Zoo” went on to become one of ODB’s most successful singles, only second to “Got Your Money”.

As a proud and true Brooklyn native, ODB was able to infuse the voice of his borough into the track and subsequently created a Brooklyn anthem. The song, produced by ODB himself and Wu-Tang affiliate, True Master, takes the shape of a viscous verbal assault as OBD belligerently rants at an unknown challenger.

Two music videos were also made for “Brooklyn Zoo” with one gaining more worldwide exposure than the other. The more common version shows Ol’ Dirty Bastard, as well as various members of Wu-Tang Clan, lingering in a rundown project hallway while rapping the lyrics to “Brooklyn Zoo”. However, the original version, which gained limited exposure due to its mature subject matter, featured a movie with subtitles. The movie tells the story of Pimp Daddy (played by Ol’ Dirty Bastard) and a wild escapade he goes on shortly after returning from prison.

The name, “Brooklyn Zoo”, is a reference to the actual zoological park located in Brooklyn as well as a group closely affiliated with ODB known as “Brooklyn Zu”.


Written by Simo Haier