Sting on cultural appropriation: “It’s such an ugly term”

Shaggy collaborator calls Bob Marley his "spiritual, musical mentor"

Sting has responded to the debate about cultural appropriation in music, describing the phrase as “such an ugly term”.

The former Police frontman has teamed up with Shaggy for a new reggae record, which NME recently described as a “cheery abomination of an album”.

Artists such as Bruno Mars have recently come under fire from some critics for alleged cultural appropriation. Asked about this, Sting told the BBC: “It’s such an ugly term.”


He added: “For me, reggae is something I respect and value, and take seriously. It’s something I’ve learned from.”

“I owe a great deal to the whole reggae bass community. My spiritual, musical mentor was Bob Marley – who I knew – and I really feel that I’m doing something that feels authentic to me.”

“Working with Shaggy gives it that extra edge,” Sting continued. “He’s an authentic reggae dancehall superstar. I dabble and I dibble, but that was the common ground we had.”

Sting and Shaggy’s ’44/876′ is out this Friday (April 20). According to a press release, the album came about after the pair “got together to jam and write music that reflects their mutual love of Jamaica, its music, people and culture”.

NME‘s Jordan Bassett recently wrote of the collaborative album: “It would be easy – perhaps too easy – to snort with derision at the musical union of a novelty dancehall singer from the early noughties and a pensioner now largely famous for having tantric sex.”


“And yet, and yet. There’s something weirdly enjoyable about this cheery abomination of an album. The camaraderie is palpable. These are staggeringly, beautifully unselfconscious men, insulated by success, and they have honestly no idea how ludicrous they look and sound. “


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