Emerging in the early 1990s, Shaggy was the biggest crossover success in dancehall reggae. Not only did he become the genre's most commercially potent artist in the international market, he was also more than just a typical flash in the pan, managing to sustain a career over the course of several highly popular albums. Shaggy is best known for hits like Oh Carolina, Mr Bombastic, In The Summertime, It Wasn't Me and the humorous collaboration with the UK's very own comedian, Ali G.
Shaggy's had a taste for chart success many times before and with his current album Clothes Drop and single Church Heathen he's not about to do anything less!
EUT: What are you up to in the UK?
Shaggy: I'm mainly just doing promotion for the new album and single and I might make it down to a couple of clubs to perform. I'm enjoying myself though, I can't complain!
EUT: It's been a while since you've released an album. Is this signature Shaggy style?
Shaggy: I think a lot of people are surprised when they listen to some of the songs starting with Church Heathen. We've always reinvented ourselves each time we come back like when we came with Mr. Bombastic or It Wasn't Me. This album is more dancehall-oriented but still true Shaggy. There are a lot of signature story lines and it's a good roller coaster ride.
EUT: How do you manage to reinvent yourself every time?
Shaggy: It's basically trying to do everything different. I'm my biggest competition and there's nobody else to compete with me really. If you're going to compete with somebody then compete with somebody who has accomplished more than you have and there's nobody who has accomplished what I have. I'm my biggest critic!
EUT: Who else do you think has contributed to the rise of reggae and dancehall music in the mainstream?
Shaggy: There are a lot of people and I would like to think of myself as piece of the puzzle. I hope that people remember me as playing a role. It all started with Yellowman who had the hardest job out of all of us who had to introduce the music of dancehall at a time when the mainstream wasn't listening to reggae music let alone dancehall. He made such an impact that the world had to stop and notice that it's an art form to be reckoned with. There's also Shabba Ranks, Super Cat and Chaka Demus & Pliers. Sean Paul has also played a vital role I mean, thank God for Sean because he's been holding it down for the past two years and kept the light on for us.
EUT: Why was the gap so long between two albums?
Shaggy: This has been one of the hardest albums I've had to do because it took me over two years to complete. That was mainly because I'm with a major record company and they had all these A&R people and so many different other people who had to approve it. The minute we did a song you didn't just have to please the president, you had to please the guy in Germany and the guy in France and Italy. It came to a point where I stopped compromising because I think it would have affected the credibility of what I have built over the years.
EUT: Who did you work with on Clothes Drop?
Shaggy: I recorded with Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls, will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, Olivia and a few other artists as well.
EUT: What are Rayvon and Rik Rok up to?
Shaggy: Rik Rok got married and he's kind of living that life at the moment but he's putting out a new album soon I think. Rayvon is on my new album, which was nice to do.
EUT: Mr. Bombastic is one of your older songs now but you're still known by that title by a lot of people. Do you mind that?
Shaggy: Yeah I mean it was deliberate. When we did Oh Carolina my audience was old, young, black and white, male and female, but when we did Mr. Bombastic the audience was 90% female. All of a sudden people changed my name from Shaggy to Mr. Bombastic and Mr. Lova Lova.
EUT: Can you say Mr. Lova Lova for me?
EUT: Sorry, I had to get you to do that! Anyway, did being in the military help your music in any way?
Shaggy: As far as the discipline is concerned, definitely. Discipline is really necessary in a job like this where there can be really long hours. You have to be dedicated.
EUT: When did you realise you had a talent?
Shaggy: I've always had knack when it came to writing lyrics. As far as music being a career, the thought didn't dawn on me until after Mr. Bombastic.
EUT: Did your family influence your music?
Shaggy: I have nobody musical in my family! I'm the first one. They're pretty proud of what I'm doing but I've never sat down with them and talked to them about how they feel. They haven't specifically said but I'm sure they are proud of me.
EUT: You recently recorded a collaboration with Cyndi Lauper [Girls Just Wanna Have Fun]. How did that come about?
Shaggy: I did a tour in Europe with Cyndi Lauper, James Brown and a couple of other people. Her and I just struck up a really good relationship and we ended up doing this song called Through The Night. There wasn't much thought put into it, it just happened!
EUT: What would be the craziest Shaggy duet?
Shaggy: I've done some crazy ones in the past but it would be crazy right now to do a Shaggy collaboration with Garth Brooks. It all boils down to the song. I don't care who I work with as long as the music is right. I don't like doing music with stars though, I'd rather duet with new people like Na'sha who is exceptional.
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