Twenty years after the monumental success of “It Wasn’t Me” and the Hot Shot album, VICE speaks with the key players involved in the creation of the track to learn the “Story Of” how a throwaway album cut became an international smash single, a cultural phenomenon, and helped pave the way for the Dancehall and Reggaeton revolutions that would follow in its wake.
In 2000, when Shaggy released Hot Shot, the album which contained his smash hits, “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel”, it initially failed to find an audience. In fact “It Wasn’t Me” wasn’t even released as a single. It wasn’t until a DJ from Hawaii began to play “It Wasn’t Me” from an illegal download off Napster, that the song found its audience and quickly spread to become the first truly viral smash hit of the 21st century.
Contrary to popular belief, “It Wasn’t Me” was not inspired by Shaggy’s personal experience, but by Eddie Murphy’s stand up special “Raw.” On the themes of cheating, Shaggy said, “Everybody cheats at some time or another in their lives. I just wanted to put a funny twist on it. I think a lot of people saw themselves in it.”
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