Anyone who owned a radio or MP3 player (remember those?) in the late-1990s and early-2000s is well-aware of who Shaggy is – the rapper, not the Scooby Doo character. His music is synonymous with that time period, but is most known for his hit songs ‘Boombastic,’ ‘Angel,’ and, of course, ‘It Wasn’t Me.’
‘It Wasn’t Me’ was released in 2000 as a part of his Hot Shot album – his first album since signing with MCA Records. He was previously signed to Virgin, but they decided to drop him in 1999 because they didn’t think he would record another hit song after his 1995 release of ‘Boombastic’ – which went viral.
Looking back at that decision, Virgin was wrong and MCA Records benefited from it – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? His ‘It Wasn’t Me’ song went even more viral than ‘Boombastic’ and was certified 4x Platinum with more than 2.4 million certified units/sales – ‘Boombastic’ had just 1.2 million.
For those that have never heard the song (or haven’t heard it in a while), the lyrics and music video depict a man who asks his friend for advice after getting caught cheating on his girlfriend. His friend’s advice was to deny everything and tell her ‘it wasn’t me.’ As a result, many people consider it a ‘cheating song.’
On Friday (June 2), PEOPLE published an exclusive interview with Shaggy, who was asked about his upcoming tour with TLC, which began on June 1. At one point during the interview, he was asked if people still think he’s a ‘player’ for releasing a ‘cheating song,’ despite being married with children.
To many people’s surprise, he said many people have the wrong idea about the song – in fact, he considers it an ‘anti-cheating song.’ As for the misconception, he credits it to people focusing on the chorus and not listening to the song the whole way through – it’s at the end that the lesson is learned.
At the end, the guy ends up going against his friend’s advice and, instead, comes clean to his girlfriend about cheating. “It’s an anti-cheating song. No one ever really buys into that, and I keep explaining it to people. Then, they go listen to it back and be like, ‘Oh dude, I totally missed that,’” Shaggy says.
Shaggy Gives His Take on Why the Song Went Viral
While Shaggy meant for the song to be an anti-cheating song, he credits the misconception as one of the primary reasons why the song blew up in the first place – and not only that, but sustained its success for 20+ years. “What’s so good about that song is that it was relatable throughout the years,” he declared.
He went on to explain that almost everyone can relate to cheating – whether they’re the ones who cheat or the ones who get cheated on. “People do have this whole situation with cheating, and the thing about that is that you could be young, old, Black, white, straight, gay, whatever it is, it’s still relatable,” he added.
As far as how the misconception came to be, he credits the fact that no one ever listens all the way to the end of the song – so they never really hear the morale of the song. Of course, he’s also aware that his song is played in the club often – where DJs tend to switch songs before the one that’s playing finishes.
And for those wondering what happens at the end of the song, the cheater tells his friend: “I’m going to tell her that I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused. I’ve been listening to your reasoning, it makes no sense at all. Going to tell her that I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused. You might think that you’re a player, but you’re completely lost.”
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