Rihanna responds to claims Shaggy turned down a collaboration because he didn’t want to audition

'R9' is expected to drop later this year

Rihanna has denied recent claims made by Shaggy that he was invited to appear on her new album, but declined on the grounds that he “didn’t need to audition”.

Ri is yet to announce her follow-up to 2016’s ‘Anti’, though it has been widely reported that a dancehall and reggae-influenced record is on the way. Despite the global hype surrounding the album informally dubbed ‘R9’ by fans and the artist herself, Shaggy felt it wasn’t the right move for him.

Speaking to The Daily Star, he said: “They approached me for the Rihanna project yeah.

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“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.”

Rihanna Shaggy WMA 2007
Rihanna and Shaggy hosting the World Music Awards in 2007. Credit: Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage/Getty

Now, a spokesperson for Rihanna has hit back at Shaggy. “We are working on an album, not a talent show, so why would [Rihanna] require Shaggy or any other artist to audition?” they told the Jamaica Irie FM Morning Show.

The spokesperson also said that it wasn’t even Rihanna who reached out to Shaggy, but vice versa.

“After Rihanna had already gathered all the material for the album, Shaggy contacted her asking to be a part of the album,” they stated.

“She explained to him that the album was pretty much completed and they were just working on mixing, mastering and deciding which songs to actually use. However, she invited him to submit some materials so she could see if it fits with the flow of the album. That was by no means asking for an audition, it was more going out of her way to get him on the album.”

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The last update fans received on the new Rihanna record came in the form of a head-banging puppy – and a joke about her “refusing to release [the album]”.

On December 22, the musician posted a video of a dog bouncing around a cardboard box soundtracked by House Of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’. The post was captioned: “update: me listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it.”

The post comes a year after Rihanna told a fan in her Instagram comments that the new record would be released in 2019.

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