While he recently garnered his second Grammy Award for 44/876 (his joint album with Sting), Shaggy is ready to return to the music scene solo with his 12th album, Wah Gwaan?!. The aforementioned LP is the reggae superstar’s first unaccompanied project in six years, and–as it’s one of the most personal albums of his nearly 30-year career.
“I got to a space where I almost started to be a little insecure, because your age is up there, and people around you are like ‘oh, you’re not as cool anymore,’” the 50-year-old says of his upcoming project, which is slated to drop May 10. “You get to a point where a lot of it isn’t really working, and you’re saying ‘maybe I should really just get back to me.’ My label rep said something to me: ‘Why don’t you try betting on yourself for a bit?’ As simple as it might sound. I sat down, and I decided to write.”
The Jamaican-born and bred musician’s hit “Oh Carolina” made waves in 1993, and he’s kept the good vibrations going ever since. Shaggy has sold 40 million units to date and has won two Grammy Awards out of six nominations. His fifth studio-album Hot Shot catapulted to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2000. Two songs from the latter, “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel,” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart. He’s also one of the top three streamed reggae artists on Spotify, with 710 million streams. Shaggy wanted his latest body of work to be a culmination of his professional and personal experiences.