With two days before the release of his latest project, Shaggy held court at Inner Circle’s Circle House studio in North Miami. He took questions from the media and posed for photos with fans who listened to songs from In The Mood, his EP which dropped on May 12 on VP Records.
It has seven songs and is driven by soca rhythms. Yes, soca. On it, Shaggy collaborates with Trinidadian artistes including Kes, and the husband-and-wife team of Bunji Garlin and Patrice Roberts.
Skinny Fabulous, a popular soca singer from St. Vincent and The Grenadines, is also on In The Mood. So too Shaggy’s dancehall compatriots, Konshens and Future Fambo.
“Mi jus’ bored! And when I’m bored I just do different things,” joked Shaggy following the presser. He said a soca project is overdue, given his long association with the genre, an offshoot of calypso which originated in Trinidad and Tobago during the early 1980s.
“I live in the Caribbean even when I’m not in the Caribbean. It’s in our DNA; soca is in our DNA,” stated the two-time Grammy winner.
Mood, lead single from In The Mood, was done with Kes, arguably the hottest name in soca. Whine & Jumping pairs him with Roberts while he shares the mic with Bunji Garlin on Well Talented.
Shaggy has had solid success dabbling in soca. Toro Toro and Whining Season, his songs with Trinidadian soca king Machel Montano, were strong sellers and are still played during Carnival season in the Caribbean.
He also performs at soca events in Jamaica.
In The Mood continues Shaggy’s embrace of different sounds, a strategy that has helped him sell millions of records. It started with Oh Carolina, his 1993 breakthrough song, which is a cover of The Folkes Brothers’ pre-ska classic.
Of course, there are the hook-laden, monster sellers including Boombastic, In The Summertime, It Wasn’t Me and Angel which topped pop charts around the world.
Blending sounds and working with major stars like Sting has made him a fortune but Shaggy admits his penchant for genre-bending has come with some negatives.
“For years people didn’t look at me as credible because I was making music that is hybrid. That used used to bother me, but not anymore,” he said.
By Howard Campbell