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The Quadrangle’s Guide to Shaggy

As The Quadrangle always keeps the best interests of our readers near and dear to our hearts, we have put together a primer on the musical artist known as Shaggy to ensure that all are fully prepared for his upcoming Springfest concert on Apr. 22.

First and foremost, Shaggy the pop-reggae musician should not be confused with Shaggy the lanky, green shirted, “Zoinks!” proclaiming Scooby-Doo cartoon character. However, the real-life Shaggy does have a connection with the fictional character, as his stage name was once a childhood nickname given for his equally messy mop of hair.

Real name Orville Richard Burrell, Shaggy was born in Jamaica, also the birthplace of his own reggae music style. However, Shaggy moved to New York City at age 18 and lived for a time in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Starting his recording career in the New York City reggae scene, Shaggy had some limited local success. However, his music career had to be put on hold after he joined the Marines to have more financial stability and found himself deployed for Operation Desert Storm. Yes, those Marines. Shaggy in fact holds the top spot on the U.S. Naval Institute’s list of “10 People You Didn’t Know Were Marines.”

Once back in the states, Shaggy continued to further his music career by balancing weekend work in recording studios and nightclubs with the remainder of his military service duties.

Music became his primary focus once his early 90s dancehall cover of “Oh Carolina” gradually saw success on the charts at home in Brooklyn and eventually even more internationally. From there, Shaggy saw greater success in Europe and released his 1995 album “Boombastic” that featured the hit single of the same name and won him a Grammy for best reggae album.

With some continued moderate recording success in the late 90s, including features in several movie soundtracks, Shaggy then reached the pinnacle of his music career with the 2000 album “Hot Shot.”

A 6x Platinum selling album, it was his greatest commercial success and featured two of his biggest singles, “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me.” Together with “Boombastic,” those three songs are easily his most recognizable and have had the most staying power.

While Shaggy saw continued success internationally in the following years, “Hot Shot” was arguably the peak of his popularity in the United States mainstream music scene.

His 2015 single, however, “I Need Your Love” peaked at 66 on the Billboard Hot 100 while also charting well internationally. He also released dance single “That Love” this past summer.

At first glance Shaggy may seem to modern ears as a once-popular artist with lingering success from international hits and continued attempts at a come back with feel-good pop songs. However, it could be argued that Shaggy paved the way for later pop-reggae crossovers that were tremendously popular in the 2000s (Sean Paul, Sean Kingston, etc.).

Reggae-esque sounds have never gone away from the American pop and hip-hop music scene and usually have a habit of resurfacing on the charts especially during the warm summer months.

One needs to look no further than Drake’s latest dancehall and patois infused “More Life” for an example.

Lasting musical influence or not, Shaggy is sure to be a hit at this year’s spring concert. At the very least, you will be sure to recognize his biggest songs.

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