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How Shaggy became first Dancehall artist to score UK hits in THREE separate decades

I don't think any other living Jamaican artist has scored a hit in every decade since first entering the UK charts with chart-topper "Oh Carolina". While Shaggy's career began in New York, he scored his first ever hit in the UK. We buss him. There definitely hasn't been one from a dancehall background. This is something worth shouting about, and if I don't do it, who will? Ay?

Quick side: the original "Oh Carolina" performed by The Folkes Brothers, produced by Prince Buster is one of/the earliest records with nyahbinghi drumming courtesy of Count Ossie. Pivotal moment in Jamaican record history to incorporate that style of drumming and the African chanting which opened the door for Rasta participation in Jamaican music.

Another quick side: Shaggy "Oh Carolina" is the first single I begged my mum to buy. Big up the vinyl crew. Little exclusive I thought I'd let off before I drop the e-autobiography in 2030.

What makes Shaggy's career and success even more interesting to me is he was written off twice. First time was "Oh Carolina" in 1993, then the "In The Summertime" & "Boombastic" (second chart-topper) period in '95. Those times were both dwarfed by the diamond-selling (over 10 millions records sold) Hotshot era in 2001. I mean, to this day, I think of Shaggy any time I hear anyone utter "It wasn't me"

Shaggy's last hit was top ten song, "Hey Sexy Lady" in 2002. Yep, over ten years ago. You probably don't even remember that song. I do, but mainly due to the dancehall version of the riddim was fire!

Any artist from Jamaican music deserves to be beyond satisfied with the illustrious career he's had thus far. Sold millions of records, toured the world and won awards. Not bad for someone who only picked up the mic as a tool to pick up ladies in clubs, as he told me here. Oh, and "Oh Carolina" was only a mess about 'cos he wanted to swear. Quite funny 'cos I used to play the swearing version real low when my parents weren't about. Never wanted to catch licks. Ya mad?!

While Shaggy may have disappeared from pop charts, he stepped back into the reggae world. From Church Heathen in 2006 through to 2013' Reggae Grammy-nominated album with Sly & Robbie entitled Out of Many, One Music (featuring the Beres Hammond-assisted dance floor warmer "Fight This Feeling" via Street Bullies riddim (boasted Vybz Kartel's "Slow Motion"). He didn't disappear. In fact, he completed an extensive tour last year through Europe and America.

But back to now, I heard "Habibi (I Need Your Love)" earlier this year, thought it sounded like a potential hit: global appeal tied through dancehall with a Latin feel but thought Shaggy would be written off by the industry on sight. I mean, I did think he was taking promise for guarantee when he told me he had offers to go mainstream, and that he could actually hit again. I'd think the same if any dancehall artist with previous chart history said they were gonna hit pop charts again. Apart from Sean Paul, obviously.

"Habibi" was added to Radio 1's playlist. For those unfamiliar with Radio 1, they are the most influential radio station when it comes to listenership and reflected in getting into the top 40 chart. Madonna, Robbie Williams and (I think) Kylie Minogue, artists with much bigger clout and sales history, have been rejected from playlist adds due to their age/lack of relevance to the demographic. Radio 1 is going through a big thing where they have to chase younger listenership due to their remit. Not only are they rejecting big artists, they are telling the world the reason. See: Robbie & Madonna (though the boss said it isn't ageism, she needs better music (which is true)).

Then here comes Shaggy, a man people try to parody out, and he's stomping all over that place. Things like this aren't supposed to happen. This is a completely different gen to those who bought in the 90s, who are different to those in the 00s. 22 years is enough time for a mum and their grandkids to have enjoyed different eras of Shaggy. Think about it; a mum could have snogged a dad at the disco to "Oh Carolina" and indulged in a bit of rumpy-pumpy to "Boombastic". Their child, who sang along to "Angel" on the way to school, could tag their partner in "Habibi (I Need Your Love)" in a video of their toddler dancing about to it on Facebook. You see how life funny?

And not only that, he features on Atlantic signee, Krishane's new single. Not only is the youngster son of Jamaican music legend Barrington Levy, he shares management with Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and more huge pop acts.

Question is, will Shaggy have two top 40 entries in 2015? 22 years after his first hit? 13 hits spread across three decades. Who woulda thought it? Definitely not me. Endless respect.

Moral of the story is don't watch doubters. Preserving and a little bit of delusion is rarely a bad thing.

And below is the interview where he told me about the struggles, success and offers to go mainstream again in 2013. Just re-watched and he said he doesn't wanna sign to a major. He got signed to Sony Red earlier this year. Or maybe late last year.


"I Need Your Love" entered rose to  36 on official UK chart and 25 based on sales only week commencing 7th August


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