Shaggy emerged in the early ’90s brandishing a cheeky sense of humor and a vocal delivery that was croaky to the point of seeming comical. And though the performer—who was born Orville Burrell in Kingston, Jamaica in 1968 and got his start in music during his stint in the U.S. Marines—might’ve seemed like he was having too good of a time to worry about career longevity, he has happily kept his personal party rolling in the decades since he first hit big with “Oh Carolina” in 1992. A cover of a ska song originally recorded by the Folkes Brothers, Shaggy’s gloriously bass-heavy single became one of dancehall’s first major crossover successes. With the rib-cage-rattling title track of 1995’s Boombastic and his sweet duet with Maxi Priest on “That Girl,” he became one of reggae’s few global sensations since Bob Marley. Shaggy clinched household-name status with “It Wasn’t Me,” an inescapable 1999 smash featuring his sometime singing partner Rikrok that offered invaluable advice to cheaters everywhere. That ode to infidelity ironically helped cement his own audience’s devotion to his funny, frisky brand of dancehall. In the years since, Shaggy’s proved to be just as popular with other artists as he is with listeners. He enjoyed a fortuitous match-up with Sting on the unlikely twosome’s 2018 collaboration 44/876, and his chemistry is just as good with reggaetón king Nicky Jam, one of many guest stars on Shaggy’s typically exuberant 2019 solo album Wah Gwaan?!.
BORNOctober 22, 1968