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Shaggy Turned Down the Chance to Be on Rihanna’s Upcoming Album Because He Was Asked to Audition

Photo: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

While some will always see reggae artist Shaggy as merely the genius insisting it wasn’t him having sex butt-naked on the bathroom floor in front of your very eyes (it was some sort of infidelity optical illusion!), the Jamaican musician is, in fact, a critically acclaimed two-time Grammy Award winner for Best Reggae Album, thanks to 1996’s Boombastic and 2019’s 44/876, which he made with Sting. So, calibrate your shocked gasps accordingly when you read that, yeah, Shaggy went ahead and passed on the chance to collaborate on a song for Rihanna’s long-awaited ninth album, rumored for a 2020 release. The reason he declined to work on RiRi’s upcoming project? Apparently, despite his decades of reggae excellence, Shaggy was asked to audition.

“They approached me for the Rihanna project, yeah,” the musician reportedly told Britain’s Daily Star. “There’s a lot of great people involved, but for me, I didn’t need to audition to be on the record. I’ll leave that to younger guys. But from what I hear, it should be good.”

And while Shaggy himself didn’t feel the need to prove his credentials for Rihanna’s reportedly Caribbean dancehall–inspired album, he was gracious about encouraging her sonic direction. “It’s healthy competition,” he said. “Dancehall is in a good place but we need as many people to do this art form as possible. When it crosses over and becomes popular with artists from other genres and other cultures, that can only be good.” Truly a boombastic mister, even after all these years.

Shaggy Turned Down Rihanna Album Collab After Audition Ask