Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Shaggy

In Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. This week: Shaggy.

Which former boyband member’s debut 2017 solo single uses the hook from your 2000 hit ‘It Wasn’t Me’?

“Oh lord! I know it ‘cos I cleared the record, but I forgot his name! (Laughs) It was Simon Whatshisface that founded the band he was in, right?”

WRONG. It’s Liam Payne (featuring Quavo) with ‘Strip That Down’.

“From One Direction! Dude, I almost had that! (Laughs) Cool guy. I thought it was a pretty great record which is why I cleared it. Some records want to sample me and I’ve turned them down because I think they’re total crap, but this one was a no-brainer.”


In 2010, which then Radio 1 DJ pretended to be you to book a taxi?

“Oh my God, I forgot his name but I did hear it! Um – Simon? Is that his name?”

WRONG. It was Chris Moyles.

“I’m terrible at this! (Laughs) It was sent to me and I died laughing at how he tried to imitate my voice. And it was as if the person on the other end of the phone didn’t even get it. Hilarious. In my DMs every day, people send me funny videos of people singing my songs or talking in my voice – like hotel bands doing terrible versions of ‘Boombastic’ or people getting drunk and doing a horrible job of singing Shaggy songs at karaoke.”


Can you name any of the artists Ali G confuses you for in the ‘Me Julie’ video?

“Ahhh! All I remember is when he says he wants a hot girl and I bring out Angel who’s this really big lady, and when he smokes weed and confuses a Rasta for a girl he’s chasing. That was a crazy video – all from Sacha [Baron Cohen]’s genius.”

WRONG. He mixes you up with Beenie Man, Shabba Ranks and….

“(Interrupting) Wait! He calls me Chaka Demus & Pliers too.”

Just in under the wire, CORRECT.

“I was just along for the ride on that video. There are certain things I edited out. They had a part where they had my head going up some ass and I was like: ‘Nah, I ain’t doing that!’. They superimposed my head up some chick’s butt and I said: ‘That ain’t going on film’. So I cut that but for the most part, they had free rein.”

“They had a part where they had my head going up some ass and I was like: ‘Nah, I ain’t doing that”


Which rapper made her musical debut on a remix of your 2015 track ‘Boom Boom’?

“Was it Cardi B?”


“Somebody brought her to me. I thought she was sick and put her on the remix – obviously she blew up after that. Popcaan was on it and there was a whole creative differences drama there, which is why we didn’t push it enough. She always had something about her. She lights up a room. As soon as she walks in, you notice her.”

“I don’t work with a lot of big stars – I prefer using new artists. Even on ‘It Wasn’t Me’, I used Rikrok. Nobody knew him and we had a huge number one. Recently, with ‘Habibi (I Need Your Love)’, I worked with Mohombi and Faydee – and that went top five in America. To me, Cardi was just another new artist that I saw something incredible in and I hoped to get something really hot.”


In the 2018 Netflix film Game Over, Man!, what is the name of the character who forces you to sing ‘It Wasn’t Me’ at gunpoint?

DUDE, what’s with you and THESE NAMES?! Names, names, names! I’m looking at the guy – I’m not going to remember his name! Jesus! You’re killing me with these names! Oh my God – a siege, a gun to my head! Obviously I can’t remember his name. You got me there!”

WRONG. It’s Mr. Ahmad.

“I’m failing miserably at this quiz! I read the script and thought it was super fucking funny. But I didn’t know what part I was going to play until I got to Canada [where it was filmed], where I found out I’d play myself. At the premiere, they had a marching band playing ‘It Wasn’t Me’ but I was just in the movie for a really small cameo – and they built the publicity around it (Laughs).”

 Have you been offered many acting roles?

“Yeah – I’ve turned down lots. Especially in the early years where I was hot and breaking new ground. Dancehall and reggae wasn’t seeing the light of day and I found myself breaking barriers down and getting number 1 records. I felt I was doing something important – ending up selling 10 million records and doing diamond – so I turned down movie and TV offers because I was so focussed on getting reggae and dancehall to a place where it was competitive and a force to be reckon with within the mainstream. It worked, because now you see all these dancehall-indebted records from Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Drake and Rihanna.”

“Apart from all the tabloid crap like Big Brother, The Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars, I turned down a movie with Steven Seagal [2002’s Half Past Dead] – the part that went to Ja Rule was mine, and Steven Seagal hunted me for weeks trying to get me to do it. There was another movie with Anthony Hopkins [2002’s Bad Company] – they offered me the Chris Rock part but I didn’t like the script. I wasn’t wrong about that because the movie didn’t do shit anyway! (Laughs)”

Who did Sting once mistake you for?

Sean Paul?”


“Yeah, he always says that!  People confuse me with Sean Paul all the time. It’s a running joke. Somebody will say (Imitates an excited fan): ‘OH I KNOW YOU!’, and I’ll reply: ‘Yeah – I’m Sean Paul!’, then start singing his songs. (Shaggy launches into a version of Sean Paul’s ‘Like Glue’). It’s really funny!”

Will there be another album from you and Sting?

“It worked well but when we started, people didn’t buy into it. ‘Cos on paper, it didn’t make sense. But Sting and I were sure that when people saw the show, they’d be entertained because they’re getting nothing but a barrage of hits. We were sold on our chemistry together and understood how easy it was to make the record [‘44/876’] and how well we got along – that mutual energy and love showcased itself. I don’t know if they’ll be a  ‘44/876’ sequel, but we’ve been talking about doing so many other different projects together. When we sit down and have a gin and tonic, all kinds of crazy ideas come out of our heads!”

Which political figure did you play in a 2018 sketch with James Corden?

“Oh, I played Trump!”


“With Trump, you gotta copy his habits – the little hand movements he does and how he puckers up his lips. It’s a Trump thing, man! For some reason, the TV show and James Corden really loved it. It was right in the middle of the Stormy Daniels scandal so it came off really cool.”



Another question involving names I’m afraid…


…You appeared on the controversial Channel 4 series The Word in 1993. Can you – gulp! – name any of the other guests on your episode?

“That’s so long ago, I wouldn’t be able to do that. Who was the host? Terry Christian? What happened to that guy? But no, I can’t remember any of the other guys on it.”

WRONG. You could have had: Hole, Margi Clarke, Shaquille O’Neal, Shaun Ryder or Jeff Stryker, aka ‘the Cary Grant of porn’.

“(Laughs) Oh wow! Ohhhkkkay. I was so young at that time man! I remember Terry put a Manchester United football scarf around my neck because I was playing another team’s [Arsenal] football ground at the time and there was some rivalry going on.”

Who’s been the most unusual person who’s said they like your music?

James Brown was a huge Shaggy fan. I did a run of Night of the Proms shows for a whole month in Antwerp in 2004 – he came along every night to watch me. He gave me a huge lecture: ‘Shaggy, you are one of the best I’ve ever seen and I truly appreciate you – you let your light shine and you’re funny….’ Just giving me these great words! Michael Jackson was a huge fan – when I met him, he knew everything about the record ‘Hot Shot’ and ‘It Wasn’t Me’ was one of his favourite songs. That truly touched me that he knew so much geeky knowledge about me! A lot of people – Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Kevin Costner – come up to you and go: ‘Yo man, you’re the shit!’. I had dinner with Bruce Springsteen and it was a crazy night – unbelieve to me that he even knew my name.”


What did you claim in 2015 that the best way to combat Isis would be?

“Smoke weed (Laughs). And play them reggae music.”


“Play reggae music and smoke weed and you’d have less wars! You’d get more love! You don’t see weed smokers trying to fight people – they might get really hungry, but they won’t fight me! They’ll be too busy eating a lot – then they’ll be too fat to fight! (Laughs)”

 You enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1988. What were your military days like?

“I served in the marines for about four years and it helped me grow up. People say they go into the military to learn how to fire a gun but I really learned how to do that on the streets – the military taught me how to balance my chequebook! (Laughs). And wake up really early to do this thing called music. It prepared me for the success I enjoy right now.”

You starred as Sebastian the crab in ABC’s The Little Mermaid Live! Who played Ariel’s trusty crustacean sidekick in the 1989 Disney film?

“I should know because I did research it and look it up – but I forgot his name.”

WRONG. It was Samuel E. Wright.

“You’re right – but I’m terrible with names! (Laughs) These names are going to kill me!”

What did you make of Twitter’s reaction to your costume?

“The lack of claws! (Laughs) At first, we had full claws, glasses, even a headpiece. As we keep rehearsing it, the executives were like: ‘Yo! We just want to see that Shaggy smile!’, and they kept taking everything off. But it worked to our advantage because on the night, it was trending because of the claws.”


The verdict: 5/10

Really?! How did I do that because I feel like I got a lot wrong? (Laughs) That was a great ride!”

Shaggy appears The Blast Off! UK arena tour alongside Nelly, Salt-N-Pepa, Blu Cantrell, Fatman Scoop and more, which begins at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on March 2.