No. 40: Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and the Wu-Tang Clan, “For Heaven’s Sake 2000”
At least when Limp Bizkit made rap-metal, they had a vague understanding of what “rap” was.
To capitalize off the downtuned wasteland of wallet-chained Neanderthals with creative facial hair and awkward b-boy stances, venerable hip-hop institution Loud Records released the nearly meritless Loud Rocks in 2000. “Yippee,” exclaimed exactly nobody when this an album of rapcore collabos, remixes, remakes and just-plain-wrongness was released. “Finally Big Pun got the Shootyz Groove treatment he deserved!” To make the shittiest song on an album that included Sugar Ray, Crazy Town, and Finger Eleven is a rare honor, and one reached by the Prince Of Dorkness himself.
Now, Ozzy Osbourne was no stranger to the rap music by 2000. His collabos with DMX (on the 1998 South Park tie-in Chef Aid) and Busta Rhymes (the “Iron Man” remake “This Means War!!”) were more goofy fun than dreadful mistakes. Hell, everyone from the Beastie Boys to Sir-Mix-A-Lot had been jacking Black Sabbath riffs since the mid-’80s, and Sharon probably sued the living shit out of all of them and used the money to buy a Pomeranian. Even Loud Records’ own Beatnuts borrowed Sab’s “Wicked World” for their classic “Reign Of The Tec,” which would have been an easy and fun and smart collabo—but asking someone to have foresight while putting together something called Loud Rocks is probably waaaay too much to ask.
Enter the Wu-Tang. This cut-and-paste tape-edit hack job is so jarring and clumsy, it makes Negativland sound like smooth jazz. But you have to forgive producer Bob Marlette, since he apparently wasn’t given any acappellas or drum tracks or anything to use. At all. This is a “collaboration” like leprosy is a collaboration with your skin, with Wu-Tang’s involvement little more than their collecting royalties on a copy of Wu-Tang Forever some kid probably sold to a CD Warehouse in 1998. So basically you have 30 seconds of a Wu-Tang record you already own, a full-on pause, and then a really fucking loud Ozzy and Tony Iommi playing a completely dogshit moronic chorus. And then the Wu record again, but really quietly and sadly just playing by itself with an out-of-tune Cypress Hill noises on top of it. Loud rocks!
Nothing hits the awkwardness on the head better than than Ozzy’s chorus: “I’m just a poor little white boy showing my respect.” It’s like even Ozzy knows this is an uneasy, awful, regrettable moment for all involved, so he’s doing everything short of singing, “I’m sorry, Wu-Tang Clan, for smearing my incontinent prattle all over your awesome song.” And the worst part is, this is only like No. 359 on a list of ways Ozzy has embarrassed himself this decade.
Ozzy w/ Tony Iommi& Wu-Tang Clan-For Heaven’s Sake 2000 [YouTube]
Loud Rocks [Amazon]
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