Shaggy CD Available in Stores Now
Luck is always a fine thing in entertainment and in life, but SHAGGY knows better than almost anyone that you make your own luck. ?You don?t get by on luck this many times,? he says from his Long Island, New York studio, in the process of finalizing his Geffen debut album, Clothes Drop. ?How does luck happen four, five times??
It?s a good question -- especially considering that, when Shaggy makes his luck, he has a knack for doing so on a massive scale. In his extraordinary career, he?s done several rounds of major heavy lifting for his brand of music, helping to stake, and even re-build, the global profile of dancehall reggae over the last decade and more. The first worldwide reggae crossover record to come out of the New York dancehall underground was Shaggy?s ?Oh Carolina.? Then, his platinum album and single Boombastic came at a time when the early fusion of hip-hop and computer-style dancehall was well past its creative peak. More recently, Shaggy recorded the most successful dancehall reggae album in history, the 10-million selling Hot Shot.
Scheduled for release in the Fall 2005, Clothes Drop, Shaggy?s sixth studio album, is a non-stop boomshot of a record, a varied and invigorating explosion of tough rhythms, with Shaggy?s unique rough-and-smooth toasts devoted to music, women, fun, and even, at the appropriate moment, the spirit.
The dancehall underground has been rocking in recent weeks to the pre-release track ?Ready Fi Di Ride,? a rugged club banger that?s currently in the Jamaican sales top 10 and top 5 on local Jamaican radio, produced by Tony Kelly.
With an irresistible electro-tribal rhythm and a tongue-twisting speed-toast, ?Wild 2nite? pairs Shaggy with Olivia, the G-Unit diva who recently shared the Number One ?Candy Shop? with 50 Cent. Another inevitable early focus of the album is the wickedly catchy ?Supa Hypnotic,? a steamy and pulsating team-up with vocalist Nicole of the notorious Pussycat Dolls entertainment troupe, produced by R&B hitmakers Soulshock and Karlin.
Also highlighting the album is the mind-bending rhythm of ?Clothes Drop,? devised by the quintessential Jamaican rhythm geniuses Sly and Robbie, at once bouncing, addictively melodic and jaw-droppingly creative. ?Would You Be? is another essential track, a breezy and melodious updating and tribute to the warmly enveloping classic R&B beat-ballad style of the Isley Brothers and Al Green.
Elsewhere on the album: the exotic, futuristic ?Don?t Ask Her That? points up the influence of the new dancehall on American hitmakers like track producer Scott Storch; ?Ultimatum? strikes a jazzy hip-hop note, produced by Shaggy?s long-time collaborator Shaun Pizzonia, known as Sting International, whose creative direction unifies the album; and ?Stand Up? revives the rhythm of ?Draw Your Brakes,? first popularized on the soundtrack of the epochal gangster-reggae film fable The Harder They Come. ?There?s always lots of variety on my albums,? Shaggy understates. ?I?m the only one in dancehall who can do any kind of music I want, and I like that. I find a new thing and I want to experiment.?
In his last public appearance, Shaggy had seen his ambitious and heartfelt concept album of tributes to the women in our lives, the 2002 release of Lucky Day, caught up in an impending label shutdown. (It nevertheless sold nearly two million copies worldwide.) Signing to Geffen Records following the closing of his previous company, Shaggy started a new album almost immediately.
Two years of recording later, he sounds not worn down, but absolutely energized from this extended period of music making. ?I wish everyone could see what it?s like in our studio. All my friends are here, every day, working and getting high on music.? If Shaggy refuses to play the game of expectations, it?s probably because his experiences, not to mention his gigantic career rebounds, have taken him off the curve entirely. ?I like my downtime,? he says. ?When some people feel like they are off their game, they panic, and try to cause controversy to stay in the public eye. When I?m out of sight, I?m out of sight.?
But Shaggy?s hardly been withdrawn. In that time, he?s been woodshedding with his own core of creators, and with an exciting, diverse slate of album producers and guests. Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas contributed the track ?Shut Up And Dance? to the album and Shaggy had originally approached Sly and Robbie for permission to do a ?lick over? -- a remake -- of a classic Dennis Brown track, but the duo responded by offering their own updated version ?Clothes Drop.? ?They fucked that track up,? Shaggy enthuses, (as in ?bad? meaning ?good,? of course). ?They made me want to start a whole new album with them.?
Shaggy, born Orville Richard Burrell, in Kingston, Jamaica, relocated to his mother?s home in Brooklyn, New York at age 18. ?My breeding ground was Flatbush,? Shaggy says, ?I?m an old-schooler.? He made two immediate Number One club hits, ?Mampie? and ?Big Up,? with producer Sting International, who continues to play a crucial creative role in Shaggy?s music. But two successful records on the local dancehall scene didn?t add up to a living, and Shaggy joined the U.S. Marines in 1988, serving in the first Gulf War of 1991. Determined to succeed in music on his return stateside, he and Sting created ?Oh Carolina,? which roared into the Number One spot in the U.K. and nine other countries in 1993 and appeared on the Pure Pleasure album. The 1995 Boombastic album cemented Shaggy?s position as a consistent hitmaker, winning a Grammy in 1996 for Best Reggae Album. In 1997 Shaggy released Midnite Lover. His collaborations with Maxi Priest, Janet Jackson and many others drove album and soundtrack sales worldwide.
Shaggy?s inevitably known as a comeback kid, having famously been dropped by his first label, Virgin, and responding by releasing the massively successful Hot Shot album on MCA, with its global Number One singles ?It Wasn?t Me? and ?Angel.? With a six-week run at Number One on the U.S. album chart, over six million albums were sold in the U.S., out of a worldwide total of more than 10 million. Hot Shot topped the album chart in 15 countries in 2001, and a rain of international awards followed.
With the creative and irresistible Clothes Drop, we can expect Shaggy to maintain his place as a leader and a worldwide ambassador for dancehall: like no other artist in dancehall, and very few in the pop field generally, time has proven itself to be on his side.
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Get your copy of Clothesdrop available at all fine record stores now.