Slacker Logo

Shaggy

ON AIR
Advertisement
Advertisement

Bio

Emerging in the early '90s, 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. Perhaps in part because he wasn't based in Jamaica, he never really needed to have it both ways: virtually ignoring the hardcore dancehall crowd, his music was unabashedly geared toward good times, a friendly (if horny) persona, and catchy party anthems. He wasn't shy about lifting hooks wholesale from pop hits of the past, a chart-ready blueprint similar to that of hip-hop stars like Puff Daddy, but he also had fairly eclectic tastes, giving his records a musical variety lacking from other dancehall stars. As a result, he became one of the scant few reggae artists to top the album and pop singles charts in America, not to mention numerous other countries where he's had even greater success. Shaggy was born Orville Richard Burrell on October 22, 1968, in Kingston, Jamaica, and was nicknamed after the Scooby-Doo character. At age 18, he joined his mother in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, New York, and soon began performing with the local Jamaican-style sound system Gibraltar Musik. A steady income proved to be a more pressing matter, however, and in 1988 Shaggy joined the Marines. Stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, he continued to pursue music in his free time, and often made the drive back to New York for recording sessions. He cut his first single, "Man a Mi Yard" b/w "Bullet Proof Buddy," at age 20 for producer Don One's own small label; for the follow-up, "Big Hood" b/w "Duppy or Uglyman," he worked with producer Lloyd "Spiderman" Campbell. Shaggy's most important connection, however, proved to be radio DJ/studio engineer Sting (born Shaun Pizzonia), who got him a gig cutting dubplates at Phillip Smart's studio. One of those records, "Mampie," became a huge hit among New York reggae fans; its follow-up, "Big Up," was even more popular locally, and marked the first of several duets with Brooklyn singer Rayvon. However, Shaggy still had obligations to the military, and his budding career was interrupted by Operation Desert Storm in 1991; he was sent to Kuwait for a five-month tour of duty. After returning to Camp Lejeune, Shaggy resumed his sessions in New York, and waxed a cover of the Folkes Brothers' ska hit "Oh Carolina." Originally recorded for Prince Buster's label, the song was given a modern dancehall update complete with a prominent "Peter Gunn" sample. At first, "Oh Carolina" was simply another local hit, but thanks to some overseas promotion, it was picked up for release in the U.K. by Greensleeves in late 1992. It was an instant smash, vaulting all the way to the top of the British pop charts early the next year and doing the same in several other European countries. "Oh Carolina" wasn't as big a hit in the U.S., where it stalled in the lower half of the charts, despite its inclusion on the hit soundtrack to the Sharon Stone film Sliver. Furthermore, its follow-up singles, the tongue-in-cheek gospel of "Soon Be Done" and the jazzy "Nice and Lovely," failed to duplicate its success. Nonetheless, the overseas success of "Oh Carolina," coupled with the high-profile Maxi Priest duet "One More Chance," was enough to land Shaggy a lucrative deal with Virgin Records. His debut album, Pure Pleasure, was released in 1993, and included many of his recent singles; the following year, Greensleeves issued a collection called Original Doberman, which covered many of his earliest recordings. Now firmly a star in Europe, Shaggy went on to conquer the U.S. with his next album, 1995's Boombastic. The title track was an inescapable hit, selling over a million copies; it reached number three on the pop charts and number one on the R&B charts, and also became his second U.K. chart-topper. "In the Summertime," the flip side of the American single release of "Boombastic," climbed into the U.K. Top Five as a follow-up. Meanwhile, the album went platinum, nearly reaching the R&B Top Ten, and spent a full year at number one on Billboard's reggae album chart; it also won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album. A third single, "Why You Treat Me So Bad," featured guest rapper Grand Puba and nearly reached the British Top Ten in 1996, but failed to make much of an impact stateside. Shaggy followed his breakout success with an extensive world tour, consolidating his European following, and recorded a hit duet with Maxi Priest, "That Girl," in 1996. He returned to solo action in 1997 with the Midnite Lover album. The first single, a dancehall version of Big Brother & the Holding Company's "Piece of My Heart" featuring duet partner Marsha, was a relative flop in the U.S., though it had some international success. Similarly, the album was a commercial disappointment, and Virgin, assuming that Shaggy's moment had passed (as it quickly had for many of dancehall's crossover hitmakers), dropped him from its roster. Undaunted, Shaggy turned to movie soundtracks to keep his name in the public eye. He appeared on a minor hit duet with Janet Jackson, "Luv Me, Luv Me," from the soundtrack of How Stella Got Her Groove Back in 1998, and followed it by contributing the solo cut "Hope" to For Love of the Game in 1999. By this time, he was able to land a new deal with MCA, and rewarded them with one of the biggest-selling reggae albums ever. Released in 2000, Hot Shot started off slowly as its lead single, "Dance and Shout," flopped in the States. However, a radio DJ in Hawaii downloaded the track "It Wasn't Me" (featuring Rik Rok) from Napster, and began playing it on his show. Soon it was a national hit, rocketing up the pop charts and hitting number one in early 2001; naturally, it did likewise in the U.K. and many other European countries. Its follow-up, "Angel" -- a rewrite of the country hit "Angel of the Morning," featuring Rayvon on vocals -- also went straight to number one in the U.S. and U.K. Hot Shot, meanwhile, spent six weeks at number one on the album charts and eventually sold over six million copies in the U.S. alone -- an almost unheard-of figure for a reggae release. While Shaggy prepared his follow-up album, more pieces of product hit the market in 2002: Virgin put out Mr. Lover Lover: The Best of Shaggy, Vol. 1, a compilation covering his years at the label, while MCA issued a remix album, Hot Shot Ultramix. Before the end of the year, Shaggy released his new album, Lucky Day, which was loosely designed as a respectful tribute to womankind. Its first two singles, "Hey Sexy Lady" and "Strength of a Woman," didn't fare well in the U.S., but the album sold respectably well, going gold by year's end and charting in the Top 30 on both the pop and R&B listings. In 2005 he returned with Clothes Drop, this time on the Geffen label. Early in 2007 his "Church Heathen" single began dominating the dancehall scene thanks in part to its video starring the legendary Ninjaman as a priest. The big hit single landed on Shaggy's album Intoxication, released that same year. In 2011 he returned with the single "Sugarcane" and the EP Summer in Kingston. Both were released on his own label. ~ Steve Huey
Read All Read Less

Albums by
Shaggy

false

    13 songs

    On Air

    Out of Many, One Music (XL Edition)

    10 songs

    On Air

    Essential

    10 songs

    On Air

    Summer in Kingston

    15 songs

    On Air

    Intoxication

    17 songs

    On Air

    Clothes Drop

    15 songs

    On Air

    Lucky Day

    13 songs

    On Air

    Original Doberman

    14 songs

    On Air

    Hot Shot

    13 songs

    On Air

    Midnite Lover

    16 songs

    On Air

    Pure Pleasure

    3 songs

    On Air

    Only Love (The Remixes)

    3 songs

    On Air

    You Girl (feat. Ne-Yo) Remixes

    13 songs

    On Air

    Out of Many, One Music

    13 songs

    On Air

    Original Doberman

    10 songs

    On Air

    Summer in Kingston

    9 songs

    On Air

    Don't Wanna Fight

    4 songs

    On Air

    What's Love

    5 songs

    On Air

    Feel the Rush [Italy]

    4 songs

    On Air

    Wild 2nite

    1 song

    On Air

    That Love

    1 song

    On Air

    I Got You

    1 song

    On Air

    Only Love (Mastiksoul Remix)

    1 song

    On Air

    Only Love (Suyano Remix)

    1 song

    On Air

    Only Love (Luca Schreiner Island House Mix)

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Shaggy

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   It Wasn't Me
  3.   Angel
  4.   Boombastic
  5.   I Need Your Love
  6.   All About Love
  7.   Luv Me Luv Me
  8.   Fight This Feeling
  9.   Money & Friends
  10.   All We Need Is Love
  11.   Big Up
  12.   Ready Fi Di Ride
  13.   That Love
  14.   Go Fuck Yourself (GFY)
  15.   Thank You
  16.   Only Love featuring Gene Noble
  17.   In the Summertime
  18.   I Got You
  19.   Strength of a Woman
  20.   Hey Sexy Lady
  21.   I Need Your Love featuring Costi
  22.   Hope
  23.   Oh Carolina
  24.   Boom Boom
  25.   Good Good
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Shaggy

    On Air

    Reggae

    On Air

    '00s #1 Hits

    On Air

    Sean Kingston: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    '00s Hits

    On Air

    Reggae Hits

    On Air

    '90s Hits

    On Air

    Hip Hop/R&B Hits

    On Air

    Great Songs You Forgot

    On Air

    Dance Party

    On Air

    Now THIS Is Music


Artists Related to
Shaggy

On Air

Beenie Man

On Air

Shabba Ranks

On Air

Bounty Killer

On Air

Snow