Many remember the time that Kanye West stole the microphone from Taylor Swift at the MTV VMAs in 2009, but the original mic-snatcher was none other than Ol’ Dirty Bastard, founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, who did it at the Grammys.
The year was 1998, and the Wu-Tang’s 1997 album Wu-Tang Forever had been nominated for Best Rap Album. Wu-Tang ended up missing out on the award as it went to Puff Daddy for his 1997 debut album No Way Out.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard of the Wu-Tang Clan was expecting to win the award that night, and to express his disappointment he walked right up on stage and stole the microphone from singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin, who was on stage to present the award to Diddy.
Up saunters ODB, dressed to the nines in a maroon jacket, a nice black button-up and even a with a scarf. This is a marked difference from his usual get-up, which generally fell right in line with the name Ol’ Dirty Bastard. He addresses the confused crowd:
Please calm down, the music and everything, everything. It’s nice that I went and bought me an outfit today that costed a lot of money today, you know. ‘Cause I figured that Wu-Tang was gonna win.
I don’t know how y’all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children. You know what I mean?
Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best. I want y’all to know that this is ODB and I love you all. Peace!Ol’ Dirty Bastard at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
The original Grammy crashing is one of the more ridiculous moments in modern music history, and is one of many reasons that we fondly remember Ol’ Dirty Bastard, who frequently landed in the news for his antics, even moreso than his music. He was a troubled artist, either addicted to drugs or certifiably insane, or more likely both, but his personality and unique hip-hop style make him one to remember.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard died in November 2004 of a drug overdose, just two days shy of his 36th birthday. His music and his legacy live on in the recordings he created with Wu-Tang, as well as the eccentric solo material that he released. He was one of the most interesting characters the world of hip-hop has ever known.
Watch Ol’ Dirty Bastard crash the stage at the 1998 Grammy Awards below.