‘I just really wanted the international audience to come in and just see what we’re really about,’ he tells MTV News.
By Rahman Dukes
For diamond-selling dancehall artist Shaggy, the homecoming festivities he experienced over the weekend in Jamaica were as sweet as his new single “Sugar Cane.”
On Saturday, “Mr. Boombastic” took his melodic reggae sounds back to the island that made him famous, performing a free show in front of his fellow Jamaicans with the assistance of a few other notable reggae stars. The concert, called “Shaggy and Friends,” came on the heels of the release of his 10th studio album, Summer in Kingston.
“It’s home. This is my hometown. This is where I was born, where I was raised,” Shaggy told MTV News following the performance. “This is where I currently live. I just really wanted the international audience to come in and just see what we’re really about. This dancehall music is alive, this reggae music is alive. There’s an audience here.”
Hundreds of fans lined Knutsford Boulevard starting at 7 p.m. for the show, which got under way a few hours later. The smell of Jamaican jerk and a certain green leaf wafted through the humid air as Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Chino, Di Genius, Agent Sasco, Christopher Martin, Leftside, QQ and others warmed up the stage for Shaggy.
According to producer Di Genius, the evening was another shining moment in the superstar’s music career. “To have such a huge show like this in the streets of Jamaica is definitely groundbreaking, but it goes hand-in-hand with the type of artist that [Shaggy is],” Genius said. “Shaggy has been breaking ground throughout the years. Shaggy is a 9 million-selling dancehall artist, and that’s something that’s really not normal. Definitely a groundbreaking event for the country.”
The day prior, Shaggy capped a week of promotional events to support his “feel-good album,” as he described it, with a performance on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” Shaggy debuted the clip for his crossover single “Sugar Cane” as the intro to Saturday’s show. Starting this week, Shaggy will embark on an international run to further support the album, but for the reggae legend, it’s the more natural moments such as this weekend’s epic concert that define him as an artist.
“This is home,” Shaggy declared. “And you’re nowhere unless you’re respected at home.”
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