Shaggy featured Rik Rok in this particular song album. On Vice I watched a short documentary about the song’s history.
The century’s most famous song almost never made it out here. It would have died, one of the many studio songs that never gets released.
Top producers felt the single was garbage and uninspiring. Shaggy almost got killed with disappointment.
They never really attempted to get the album promoted.
When the song came out I was a teenager. I remember my brother Edu Inspector taking home the cassette and the CD, and boy, we did justice to it.
The album took over the world, and a song becomes a cultural phenomenon,when it give new words and phrases that we use.
Nowadays, the song is performed in the early hours of the night as part of American hip hop / pop hits, so that ancestors like me can leave the club for kids to enjoy their youth.
Isn’t it funny how we get old and moved from fancy clubs to dingy places to listen to Rumba?
Music Is Life
The composition of music is one of the unique divine gifts of mankind.
A producer often plays a beat he’s just made, and the artist finds out what needs to be done.
Shaggy reached stardom with his 1995 album Bombastic and was aiming to make it a hit or to top it in 2000. Then comes the young Rik Rok, a young songwriter (he sung the song as an afterthought.) You’ve got to admire the creativity of Shaggy.
The song introductions go, “honey came and caught me red handed banging naked on the bathroom floor”.
You want to listen to the story right away. Earlier in 1998, Bill Clinton told us, “I might not have had sex with that woman.”
Shaggy picked the line “It wasn’t me” from Eddie Murphy’s stand-up routine. Eddie Murphy was a great stand-up comedian.
Song Is Done
More on that point. The album is done. Some marketer heard it in the studio by accident, playing unexpectedly just as he waited for Shaggy and the producer to come back from lunch.
He ‘s going to MCA (the record label) and the big guys there aren’t involved in this ragga madness.
Yeah, the album is out and the song isn’t included, or it’s included as an optional extra.
There’s no radio broadcast. Clubs on the American East Coast are not interested and Shaggy is trying to perform, but they’re mostly a few guys, tens of people in the crowd. Not at all that involved.
Two events happen at the same time. A radio DJ in Hawaii wants to be the best guy in the game and they’re searching for new songs.
He scans the internet and sees a bootlegged copy of the hotshot album. He sees Shaggy ‘s latest material, downloads the album (illegal) and plays the song on the radio, and his phone lines go nuts, because people want to know who the hell did such a great song.
From Grass To Grace
It’s been a phenomenon in Hawaii before long, and attention is getting across the States.
In the meantime, with minimal help from the record label, Shaggy is moving west in America trying to perform, and he’s going to Nevada, the song has become a cultural phenomenon.
And just like that, Shaggy and Sean Paul (who just released Dirty Rock) are about to sweep the world away with ragga pop madness.
The song has become the No.1 in the world, selling 10 million copies, with zero marketing or with the help of the record label.
Shaggy said that 11 people in his crew were buying houses from the album, and that made him happy to date. And that album is one of my favorite albums.
Two songs stand out from the album: leave it to me (best lovemaking song) and keep it true (best motivational song, if you’re going through a hard time).
Shaggy is a great songwriter. No doubt about that.
Life Is Unpredictable
This story rattles me, but it also reminds me of how accidental life is.
Mario Puzo wrote of the Godfather as a futile attempt to make money for his young children.
Unknowingly, he published one of the greatest books that created an even larger film.
And there’s so many things which almost never got out of here, or were almost destroyed by gatekeepers, or came out at the wrong time.
One such story that fascinates me is the story of two books.
The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald & Animal Farm by George Orwell
When Fitzgerald finished his third novel, he was now hoping to play in the big league.
The book got lukewarm reviews, sold just a few copies in 1925. Before dying young at 44, he wrote another novel believing he was a disappointment.
Then during the Second World War, his colleague, writer Edmund Wilson, helped to rewrite the novel, and it was given to young soldiers, and it became a high school education novel, and the book became a phenomenal success. And what a novel, man!
Fitzgerald’s density and intensely personal pen makes him a much bigger writer than his predecessor Ernest Hemingway’s often dry steel writing.
If not Wilson, the book could never have been The Best American Novel to date.
The story of Animal Farm has always been horrific. Never understood how it was a set book in Kenya, when Moi was the president, when the dictators would hate the book.
Animal Farm – Russia
Orwell wrote the book as a satire criticizing Russia during the Second World War. Russia played a significant part in the Second World War.
No major publisher on either side of the Atlantic chose to address it.
This was spurned by poet T.S. Eliot, then editor of the largest publishing house, who felt it was not a good time to criticize Stalin.
According to Christopher Hitchens, the book was accidentally published by Orwell through a small publishing company, and that was it.
Too much has changed. When some Ukrainian prisoners came across the book, Orwell told him to translate it.
And then the American soldiers, still in their partnership with Communist Russia, gathered up all copies and handed them over to the Red Army to be destroyed.
The Novel Arrives In America
When the book was taken to Random House to be published, the boss was a communist sympathizer and declined.
But a man from a small publisher got a book from a bookshop in Cambridge, UK, and brought it to America.
Once, Edmund Wilson reviewed the novel in the Newyorker, and the Novel of the Month Club selected it, and it quickly became a sensation in 1950 just before Orwell died.
The same can be said of Citizen Kane’s movie. Constantly ranked as one of the biggest movies.
The film is believed to be the story of William Randolph Hearst, a media mogul who at one point owned almost every newspaper in America in the first part of the 20th century.
Considering that the film was about him, all of his media outlets declined to screen it.
And for a few years, nobody knew anything about the film. Before he died, the film had undergone an unexpected Revival.
Same can be said of Harry Potter books.
So, every day, you enjoy your favorite book, movie, album, or work of art, you know it might have died at one point of development or after it was published.
Or even that the owner may not have been so confident in it.
Remember that some people thought it was garbage at the time of creation, so we can thank our stars for the men who opened doors, the men who trusted their instincts and let these things go.
I’m just curious how many beautiful things died because of a bad timing or a bad taste boss killed them?