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dj Redbeard a.k.a. Eric Pupecki meets Shaggy

assisted by Meshack Blaq
photos by Animal Chan

   

Pop Music is Pop Music and Reggae Is Reggae. When those forces combine, the end result is Shaggy. Here's a guy who no matter what he does musically, he somehow manages to always come out on top. Every time he releases a single, it's always larger than the one that preceded it. He somehow manages to win the heart of radio as well as video, and even has #1 song credits Internationally. Hell, he can even disappear for a couple of years and come back as if he was never gone. From "Oh Carolina" to "Boombastic", "That Girl" and "Love Me, Love Me", the man is gonna make you "Dance & Shout". Funny thing is Shaggy already blew up years ago and he still makes REGGAE GO POP

ERIC: What happened with your last Underground Hit, "Sexy Body Girls" in '98?

SHAGGY: The suits at Virgin were like, (putting on a whiteman executive voice) "Well, we don't see Shaggy there." I was like, "Fuck You!"

ERIC: That tune fucked it up in Jamaica, though.

SHAGGY: Yo, that shit hit so hard in Jamaica, I gotta go do a video with some kid in Germany who did that shit over. I gotta go do the video where Virgin wasn't even feeling that track.

KRON: Is that why you left Virgin?

SHAGGY: They sacked my ass!

KRON: They sacked you?

SHAGGY: Yea, they SACKED me!! They went ahead and went for the flavor of the month. Like, "Oh yea, who's happening down there? Beenie Man? OK!"

KRON: So do you feel that they can't have more than one Reggae artist at a time?

SHAGGY: Well, they could've. I think Beenie is the Man! He's my Nigga. But I think they gon' fuck him up. And it's sad, but he's the Man!

ERIC: Well they're making him so Pop.

SHAGGY: Well you see, what they're trying to do is an album like I would do an album. But he can't do what I do and get away with it.

ERIC: Right. That's not his style.

SHAGGY: I've been doin' this shit since day one. "Oh Carolina" wasn't no fuckin' straight up Dancehall shit. But you talkin' 'bout a man like Beenie who does that hardcore shit. People ain't expectin' that from him. I actually like his shit because I've heard the album and I think the shit is Dope. I do think the album is Dope!

ERIC: But you're not even trying to go for the hardcore Dancehall scene.

SHAGGY: I still do. I got "Hot Gal". I got "Sexy Body Girl" I got something with the "Bug Riddim" for "Girls File".

ERIC: You gonna get on the "Bounce".

SHAGGY: (He lights up and gives Eric a huge grin and a pound) I been dealin' with the "Bounce" from Day one my Boy! Don't you read the credits? I help write 'dem tunes. A lot of 'dem hardcore shit, I write 'em. Could you imagine me doin' some "Can't Believe My Eyes" shit? Or "Shoot The Batty Man & Kill Him"? I can't do that shit!

KRON: So are you accustomed to being the guy that makes big hits in the Reggae world?

SHAGGY: They can't get rid of me. That's the bottom line. Look at "Dance & Shout". I told Virgin it's gon' be a hit. And I told Virgin that if they put "Sexy Body Girls" out, we would've been Nice! Muh'fuckas didn't wanna hear it! "Love Me, Love Me" went out on a CD5 with Wyclef & Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, K-Ci & Jo-Jo, Boyz II Men, Shaggy & Janet. They didn't want that one to go, but that's the one radio came back playing. Then we couldn't get Janet in the video nor could we get the single rights. Virgin wasn't gonna let her up. How they gonna get Shaggy to get on a song with Janet when they just dropped Shaggy? They tried to stop that record but they couldn't.

KRON: Is the How Stella Got Her Groove Back project part of what led you to the new label arrangement?

SHAGGY: Yea, because when we went out there to work the record, radio was asking for Shaggy. So we had to roll, Bro.

KRON: So where do you call your home?

SHAGGY: Jamaica. Between Jamaica & New York , I've got homes in both places.

KRON: Born & raised in Jamaica?

SHAGGY: Born & raised in Jamaica, still live in Jamaica, got my chicks in Jamaica. It's all good! It's nice to be laughing, because I'm laughin' like a muh'fucka right now. I was laughin' when "Love Me, Love Me" was goin' on to see how the forces was tryin' to stop it and they couldn't. And I'm laughing now to see "Dance & Shout" blowing up and flying right now.

KRON: A lot of artists from Jamaica put out records every two or three weeks. We might be lucky if we catch a hot track from you every two or three years.

SHAGGY: I don't do that because I don't think it's quantity as opposed to quality. But I'm heavily involved in the Underground as far as the music is concerned. I'm on a whole bunch of shit, but I just don't make it my focus. My main thing is the bigger picture. It's funny how people say Bob Marley is the Icon and rah-rah-rah. A lot of people who are talkin' that now were his peers that didn't like him any-damn-way. Back in the early days they didn't dig Bob. They said Bob was a sellout because Bob was doing Crossover music. And I hear the same shit now about Shaggy! Bob had the bigger picture. I been seen the bigger picture. I saw the bigger picture since "Oh Carolina". What gets me though is when Niggas on the block in both Brooklyn and Jamaica be like, "Yo I like that shit! That new joint you got is Hot. Where my copy?" Muh'fuckas on the other side be like, "Yo Shaggy, I like that new shit! Uh, where can I get it?" It's fucked up, but that's the difference, Yo! I gotta pay my bills, Bro.

ERIC: What's up with Almshouse then?

SHAGGY: Who?

ERIC: Almshouse.

SHAGGY: Almshouse is just some Dancehall shit. I do them shits just for fun, but they don't pay the bills. What kinda recognition is that? If Reggae is gonna be a force to be reckoned with, we gotta get on a Major station worldwide. It don't make sense to make a record here to suck my own dick and please my own damn ego at the end of the day. If nobody ain't hearing it, why do it? I'm sayin', I'm a global Nigga. My shit's gotta be global. I can't go back on no independent label. I gotta be on a Major.

KRON: Who else are you producing?

SHAGGY: I'm doin' Maxi Priest's stuff. Rayvon is gonna be on a compilation I'm about to do for the label with Dave, Tony, Sting, and Robert. Almost like a Reggae Gold but of a more International nature.

KRON: Are you affiliated with any other labels outside of the Major?

SHAGGY: If I do songs, I do them on Big Yard or Mad House 'cause I can control it. A Nigga ain't gonna take my voice and go do some dumb shit. Dave Kelly is almost like Big Yard. We nice like that. I help him do shit and he helped me do shit, so it's cool.

KRON: With you setting the standard and raising the bar, how come you don't ride the same riddim that other cats do?

SHAGGY: I don't ride the same riddim, and I always do something left-field. Remember when "Carolina" came out, I was doin' "Big Up" and all o' 'dem big tunes and shit. And I had to switch. I said, "Yo, Carolina", and muh'fuckas was tellin' me, "What the fuck is this?!" You can't say that was authentic Reggae, but Reggae muh'fuckas ate it up. Dancehall Niggas ate it up. When I came with tunes like "Boombastic", that was no authentic Reggae shit. That was some shit that was some different shit, but they ate it up! "That Girl" wasn't no traditional Reggae and I ain't doin' nothin' different than the same left-field shit. And I still got the balls to do it and don't give a fuck what nobody say. Let me tell you about a Hit record: when a record don't Hit, everybody got something to say. When it Hits, everybody's on that muh'fucka! Shit don't happen, everybody sayin', "Man, I told you that shit was wack".

KRON: How come you never got into the acting thing? You seem like such a character the way you animate everything you say.

SHAGGY: I never got the good script. Everybody wants me to play some fuckin' Jamaican kid. Who the fuck wanna do that? What the fuck is that? I'm supposed to play a Jamaican guy? That's me. Give me something challenging. That's why I do Reggae. I love when muh'fuckas ask me how do I fit Reggae on that Pop radio? There's every type of radio station in America except Reggae. And if there is Reggae, it's sharing the station with every other kind of World Beat music under the sun. And the reception on those stations is at the end of the dial and as far as down the block. You gotta be smart to do your shit some kinda different way! Tell me where the Reggae is in "Dance & Shout". What's Reggae in "Dance & Shout"? The only Reggae in that shit is me! 'Cause I can do a Rock tune tomorrow and they're still gonna say that Reggae Nigga Shaggy. That's how it goes, Yo! Can you call five names in Reggae music right now without calling Shaggy in the top 5? Say you're not into the music at all except for occasionally. Most people know of Bob Marley, and that Shaggy fella. So whether you like it or not, I'm Reggae! Straight up!!

KRON: So you've watched Scooby Doo, right? Do you think Shaggy was a Pothead?

SHAGGY: Might as well be! Muh'fucka was always stumblin' around and hungry an' shit! That shit is funny because I don't even smoke. I just talk a good smoke. I can't fuck with that shit. I don't fuck with that shit! Don't drink, don't smoke. But I fuck a lotta pussy!

Check out more DJ Redbeard in the Jamaican Road Fools gallery!




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