Jamaican American reggae artist, Shaggy, was in Gaborone to headline the Urban Legends Concert on Thursday that was sponsored by Orange Botswana.
He is the first international reggae star in fifteen years to hit Botswana since fellow Jamaican Shabba Ranks in 1994.
The artist, who has had a career spanning over sixteen years with hits such as Oh Carolina, Bombastic, In the Summertime, It Wasn’t Me, and Strength Of A Woman, spoke in a Jamaican patois tinged baritone, saying that his longevity in the music industry was not luck but that he is ‘damn good’ at what he does.
He says after being dubbed a one-hit wonder, after the release of Oh Carolina, which he covered and also introducing a new sound that was so popular that other dancehall artists, like Chaka Demus and Pliers’ Tease Me and Apache Indian’s Boom Shakalaka, caught on to it.
His record company, impressed by the impact his debut made, wanted to record a similar sounding follow up album but Shaggy declined, saying he was adamant on changing his sound.
“I was young and stubborn and didn’t want to repeat myself. I then recorded Bombastic, which was a different sound.”
In hindsight, Shaggy says he could have listened to his record executives then and milked the sound before moving on “but no two albums of mine sound alike”, he says.
With his current album, Bad Man Don’t Cry, Shaggy has returned to Jamaica to build up a buzz.
“Jamaica is the best place to create a buzz because it’s a unique place; we don’t sell records but there is always a dance every single day of the week,” Shaggy said, and the buzz created through such appearances is what helps catapult dancehall DJs into the international mainstream urban music scene.
Shaggy’s need to rebuild a buzz comes after his previous record company, MCA Records, ‘now defunct’ after a tug of war between himself and record executives to produce material similar to It Wasn’t Me, to copy its success that had seen him reach diamond status selling fifteen million copies for his album Hotshot.
Shaggy says that all that’s left for him to do is to silence doubt of what he is capable of.
Also speaking at the press conference held at Gaborone Sun, Karabo Tlhabiwe, Orange Botswana’s Marketing Manager, said at their status meetings, they found Shaggy to be a suitable headliner with a discography ranging over sixteen years. He thanked his co sponsors, WeSSide Entertainment and The Voice.
“As this company moves into the future, we always look forward to awarding you our prospective and current customer something you have not experienced before. It is without a doubt that musical genius cum artists Shaggy will give us a taste of that; he has been in this market across a lot of generation. So, you see how he is a number one draft pick for this event. ”