With the arrival of his diamond-selling album Hot Shot, Shaggy cemented his status as one of the most iconic and massively appealing dancehall artists of all time. Released in August 2000, the Jamaica-born musician’s fifth full-length boasted two No. 1 singles, including the classic anthem “It Wasn’t Me”—a multi-platinum smash that spent 26 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, and also emerged as the 11th highest-selling single of the 21st century in the UK. To celebrate the 20thanniversary of Hot Shot, the two-time Grammy Award-winner now shares Hot Shot 2020: a powerhouse new album featuring updated renditions of the biggest hits and most beloved fan favorites across Shaggy’s catalog, along with a number of never-before-heard tracks.

“My initial thought for this project was to recreate the full Hot Shot album exactly how it was done, but then I decided I wanted to mix it up,” says Shaggy. “I lived that Hot Shot moment already and it was an amazing ride, but there is no need to re-live. I wanted to move forward and try new things, add some of my other hits like ‘Boombastic’ and ‘Oh Carolina’ and bring in different vibes while exploring some sounds we’d never used before.”

In the recording of Hot Shot 2020, Shaggy called on a stellar lineup of producers, including Martin Kierszenbaum (Lady Gaga, Madonna), Dave Audé (Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige), and Dwayne “iLL Wayno” Shippy (Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj). Mostly made in New York City but partly recorded at the legendary Anchor Recording Studio in Jamaica, Hot Shot 2020 also finds Shaggy joining forces with his longtime collaborator Shane Hoosong, a producer who’s previously worked with dancehall artist Vybz Kartel. “Shane’s got a way of putting the right feel and flavor into the production, so that the song hits you right in the chest,” Shaggy notes.

Throughout Hot Shot 2020, Shaggy showcases the boundary-breaking musicality that’s made him a global phenomenon and paved the way for the Caribbean-tingedpop of artists like Rihanna and Drake. In shaping the album’s kinetic sound, Shaggy paid careful attention to the rhythmic component of each track, often introducing elements of trap, electronic music, and modern-day hip-hop. As a result, Hot Shot 2020 unfolds with a complex and commanding sonic palette—heavier beats, harder-hitting drums, more potent basslines—all while preserving the spirit and integrity of the original material.

On Hot Shot 2020’s lead single—a dynamic and delicious update of “It Wasn’t Me”—Shaggy demonstrates his incredible talent for adding new texture to timeless pop songs. Produced by Hoosong and featuring the super-smooth vocals of Rayvon (a Barbadian singer/songwriter who sang the hook on another smash hit, “Angel” and has performed live with Shaggy for over a decade), the track at first proved challenging to revisit. “In a way it seemed crazy to try to do that song over: it’s still plays on the radio all the time, the younger generations are already hip to it,” says Shaggy. “What we ended up doing was bringing in the dancehall drums, like we always do when we play it on tour. It took the song to a completely different place, and at the same time it felt so natural for us to go there.”

While Shaggy’s exuberant side shines on many of Hot Shot 2020’s tracks—including an EDM-meets-dancehall reworking of his platinum-selling single “Boombastic”—the album also spotlights his undeniable sensitivity on songs like “Strength of a Woman.” Heavily inspired by John Lennon’s “Woman” and its loving tribute to Yoko Ono, the full-hearted 2002 hit makes for a powerful antidote to certain misconceptions sparked by “It Wasn’t Me.” “A lot of people don’t realize it, but ‘It Wasn’t Me’ is an anti-cheating song—the whole bridge is an apology,” says Shaggy. “There’s this idea of me being a womanizer, when really I’m so far from that: I was raised by women, I look up to women, I celebrate women. ‘Strength of a Woman’ was my opportunity to highlight that, and it’s always been a very special and meaningful song to me.”

Known for working with some of the world’s most esteemed reggae musicians—as well as pop superstars like Janet Jackson and Cardi B—Shaggy brought his boundless love for collaboration to the making of Hot Shot 2020. To that end, the album’s bright and bouncy update of his chart-topping 2000 smash “Angel” finds Shaggy sharing vocal duties with Sting, his collaborator on the Grammy Award-winning 2018 project 44/876. “Sting sang that song every night on the 44/876 world tour, so it only made sense for him to get on this version,” Shaggy points out.

Further revealing the eclectic sensibilities at the heart of Shaggy’s artistry, Hot Shot 2020 offers some more high-spirited nuggets. Along with an infectiously playful version of “Under the Sea” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, which Shaggy recently starred in as Sebastian for ABC’s live televised special, the new album includes Shaggy’s super-charged rendition of Barbadian artist Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue.” “‘Electric Avenue’ is probably the first-ever Caribbean pop hit, so it seemed like a perfect fit for me,” says Shaggy, who first performed the song at a benefit concert for the Rainforest Fund (a charity co-founded by Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler). Another track closely tied to Shaggy’s heritage, his horn-powered cover of Peter Tosh’s rebel-minded “Buk-In-Hamm Palace” delivers a dance-ready groove supplied by Shaggy’s longtime drummer Shaun Darson and bassist Dave Richards (a pupil of Robbie Shakespeare of Sly and Robbie, the production duo behind Tosh’s version). “Sly and Robbie are my heroes, so it was amazing to have Dave on this song,” says Shaggy. “It was Shane’s idea to make it a live record, and once we went down to Jamaica to record the horns it all came together in a way that I really loved.”

Also featuring remakes of early hits like Shaggy’s breakthrough single “Oh Carolina” (from his 1993 debut Pure Pleasure), Hot Shot 2020 ultimately offers a retrospective of an endlessly vibrant career. Born Orville Richard Burrell and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Shaggy got his start as a club DJ in New York City’s burgeoning dancehall scene soon after moving to Brooklyn in his teens. Not long after serving four years in the U.S. Marines (including two tours of duty in the Middle East as part of Operation Desert Storm), he inked his first record deal and quickly scored a global crossover smash with “Oh Carolina.”

As the only diamond-selling dancehall/reggae artist in music history, Shaggy, managed by the Cherrytree Music Company, has sold more than 40 million album units to date, in addition to landing eight singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and seven albums on the Billboard 200 (including four in the top 40). Along with 44/876 (winner of Best Reggae Album at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards), his most recent projects include his twelfth studio album Wah Gwaan?!, a 2019 release that amassed over four million streams during its first week on Spotify alone and spent a chunk of that year in the Top 10 of the Apple iTunes Reggae Chart.

Not only a multi-award-winnin songwriter and hitmaker, Shaggy has long used his platform to strengthen his community and homeland, with his Shaggy & Friends benefit concerts raising millions for the Bustamante Children’s Hospital (the Caribbean’s only English-speaking children’s hospital, located in Kingston).

Looking back on the making of Hot Shot 2020, Shaggy admits to a certain feeling of surprise at the final product. “When we started working on this record, part of me was expecting that I’d never love these new versions as much as the originals,” he says. “I’m extremely critical and figured there was no way we could top what we’d done before, but now when I’m playing these new versions, I just love the feel of them so much.” Onstage, that passion is sure to intensify the euphoric energy of Shaggy’s live performance, an element that goes hand-in-hand with his lifelong mission as an artist. “I always try to bring the fun when I’m performing, and keep everything very lighthearted and joyous,” says Shaggy. “I think my purpose and my job is to bring joy to as many people as I can, and I want that to resonate within all of the music that I create.”

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