Hip-hop and R&B may initially come to mind when you think of black music, reggae is also a big part of the sonic landscape. And though domestically it may be an afterthought in comparison to those genres, it is very much prevalent in the sound of hip-hop, with many artists and producers borrowing melodies, sounds, and everything in between from their Jamaican counterparts.
And when fused together, hip-hop and reggae can make for some of the most infectious music to get your head bopping and your body moving. One of the masters of this fusion is Shaggy.
Born in Kingston Jamaica, Shaggy and his parents moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., in the '80s, where he would cultivate his talent by taking singing courses and performing with friends on the street. After a stint in the Marines, Shaggy decided to pursue his musical aspirations full-time and landed a deal at Virgin Records, where he released his debut album, Pure Pleasure, in 1993.
The album spawned the hit, "Oh Caroline," which reached the top spot on the U.K. charts and managed to make noise in the U.S. as well, peaking at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs chart. After releasing his sophomore LP, Original Doberman, in Summer of 1994, Shaggy experienced a breakthrough year in 1995 with the success of his third album, Boombastic, which launched the rapper into superstardom.
Released on July 11, 1995, the album spawned the massive hit, "Boombastic," which was one of the biggest songs of the year, as well as a number of other notable tracks that still get burn to this day. Today, we look back on the five songs that best represent Boombastic and the brilliance of Shaggy.
"In The Summertime"Featuring Rayvon
"It's a summertime affair," Shaggy shouts on the feel-good tune, "In The Summertime." Produced by Tony Kelly, the track takes a sample of the Mungo Jerry original and flips it into the sonic equivalent of a festive day in Jamaica. The song also gives Shaggy and co-star Rayvon the opportunity to wax poetic on the joys of the sunshine, beautiful women and good living.
Boombastic goes straight dancehall with "How Much More," an enticing tune that matches style with an equal amount of substance. The song may come across as the standard dutty wine offering, but lyrically proves to be much more. Asking "How much does the youth have to suffer" among other pressing questions on his mind, Shaggy cooks up an indelible track that will make you move your feet and serves up some food for thought in one fell swoop.
"Heartbreak Suzie"Featuring Gold Mine
Listeners get introduced to a stone-cold lady killer on the addictive song, "Heartbreak Suzie." Featuring dancehall crooners Gold Mine, the track sees Shaggy weaving a tale of deception involving a woman by the name of Heartbreak Suzie, who proves to be less than loyal. The Jamaican spit-kicker makes it clear that him and Suzie's relationship is a done deal with no room for reconciliation. But on the bright side, at least it resulted in a great song and the dancehall sensation's pain wasn't completely in vain.
"Something Different"Featuring Wayne Wonder
Shaggy churns out a winner with the superb tune "Something Different." Produced by Tony Kelly, the track is powered by dusty drums, guitar licks, and other quirks. Assisted by Wayne Wonder, who sings a couple of verses and handles the hook, Shaggy hits a home-run with this classic selection that is still among the best imported dancehall songs of the past twenty years.
Shaggy's "Boombastic" was one of the biggest songs of 1995. The song contains a noticeable hip-hop element which, when mixed with Shaggy's reggae-tinged delivery, was the perfect recipe for a hit song. Peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs chart, "Boombastic" gave Shaggy his first platinum single and can is still a classic party starter.