O.D.B. in Harrisburg

O.D.B. speaks to fans outside of the Dragonfly nightclub. Photo by Leon Laing.

I’m unlocking my vault to display another never-before-seen photo. I’m also posting the image in honor of Wu-Tang: An American Saga. I photographed the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 13, 2004. He performed at the Dragonfly nightclub, a venue that closed its doors in 2012. O.D.B. would’ve turned 51 on Nov. 15.

As some people know — O.D.B., a Brooklyn native, resided in Harrisburg in the ’90s. The famous, rambunctious and talented rapper became familiar with the state capital because his uncle, the late Ali Muhammad, lived here. The Wu-Tang Clan member was also cousins with group members RZA and GZA.

When I first met O.D.B. at the Harrisburg Mall’s food court in the mid-90s, he signed an autograph for me on a Chick-fil-A napkin.

Some of O.D.B.’s classic songs include “Brooklyn Zoo” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” He also jumped on Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” remix, a chart-topper. The collaboration was unexpected yet successful.

Below, some staples of the hip-hop community share their personal stories about O.D.B. Apparently, he was a mall rat.

DJ Smitty of Harrisburg has been spinning since 1985: No, I didn’t seem him perform [at the Dragonfly], but I ran into him at the Vault [nightclub in Harrisburg] and once out the Harrisburg Mall. We just ran into each other in the elevator and spoke; that’s all. He seemed pretty cool …

Michele Hairston of Harrisburg is a hip-hop historian and member of the Universal Zulu Nation: [I saw] him at the mall with his children. I didn’t get to see much because, around that time, I lived in NYC.

Danny Hastings photographed iconic covers for timeless albums from Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) to Jodeci’s Diary of a Mad Band: Every time I met O.D.B., some memorable shit happened.

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