Brick City reggae heads will get their fix come rain or shine which is exactly went down Thursday August 8th. Dancehall/Pop-reggae veteran Shaggy mashed up the stage for a surprisingly large and increasingly soggy audience as a part of NJPAC’s Sounds of the City free concert series. Umbrellas swayed, rocked, and bounced in time as Shaggy along side long time wing man Rayvon and a killer live band toasted, sang, and whined their way through DJ’s most memorable tunes. The scene was on full blast after Shaggy’s over the top performance of the Grammy award winning Boombastic. Women screamed, young girls squealed and men toasted along.
Angel, That Girl, and In The Summertime tempered the crowd with all the good vibes of a Jamaican stage show despite there being none of the beautiful tropic weather. After a quick check to see where everyone was representin’ from (Jersey constituting the majority with a Brooklyn folk scattered about), Mr. Boombastic finally delivered the tune everyone had been waiting for. Not three chords of It Wasn’t Me had been played before the crowd launched into the chorus of the song on their own which Shaggy found quite amusing.
Next, he dug all the way in the crates and performed Oh Carolina the tune that launched his career. He asked, “How many of you have been down with Shaggy from day one?!” The majority clearly had been.
Many Dancehall aficionados would argue that the 80s and 90s were the golden years of the genre. Some of Dancehall’s most enduring and commercially successful talent began their careers during this era. The music of that time featured rougher than rough toasting over cool and deadly riddims by dancehall super producers like King Jammy and Sting International. Out of that golden age emerged a bit of an anomaly, Orville Richard Burrell a.k.a. Shaggy.
Shaggy, a native of Kingston Jamaica, relocated to Flatbush, Brooklynat the ripeold age of 18 where his interest in music was fostered. It was not until after joining the Marine Corp and becoming a Gulf War veteran that Shaggy’s music career took off. From the beginning his music was stationed just outside the realm of politics, hyper-sexuality, and violence explored by contemporaries like Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killa, and Beenie Man., rhythmic serenades to the ladies like the wildly popular Grammy award winning Boombastic, and quirky remakes like Oh Carolina that stood out within the landscape of riddim driven tunes of the time.
Shaggy has spent over twenty years further solidifying his place in the history of music garnering five Grammy nominations, three American Music Award nominations, topping charts internationally, and even earning a Jamaican Order of Distinction. He has continually pushed the limits of what it means to be a dancehall artist collaborating with Pop, R&B, Hip Hop, and Jazz artists. Up next; an album produced by the legendary Sly & Robby - Sly and Robbie presents Shaggy: Out of Many, One Music. If the track featuring Beres Hammond he treated the crowd to last Thursday evening is any indication of what the rest of the album is like Shaggy fans everywhere will breathe a collective “lawdamercy” when the album hits the streets on September 24th.
Shaggy featuring Beres Hammond – “Fight This Feeling”