It's a Lucky Day for women when Shaggy, also known as Mr. Lover, is in the house.
"They don't call me Mr. Lover because I like ice cream," toasts Shaggy on the title track
to his new album, Lucky Day. "I am Mr. Lover because I fulfill dreams."
"My existence wouldn't be the same if there weren't women," said Shaggy, he of the
buzz-saw baritone. "My life wouldn't be the same and I wanted to put that into a record."
Tracks like "Full Control," featuring singer Barrington Levy, and "Strength of a Woman"
fete strong, independently minded women.
"There are those women who degrade the name of women and there are men who degrade the name of women," Shaggy said. "But for the most part, we can't live without them. It's a wonderful situation, their mere existence, and I wanted to celebrate that."
And give the fellas a few pointers.
"Lovemaking should be fun," offers Shaggy on the track "Lucky Day," which features a
sing-song synthesizer riff and dancehall stutter beat. "The ladies should be satisfied
before you're up and done."
The album Lucky Day, which will be released on Tuesday, moves a step or two away from the pure reggae pop of Shaggy's 2000 breakthrough Hotshot and toward a rawer, dancehall sound. There are fewer recognizable samples as compared to past work and the melodies aren't as blatant.
"The pop market is a very fickle market, and that's why for me to go into the teeny-pop,
'TRL' mode, it's not really for me," Shaggy said. "I want some credibility. I want to build a fanbase, I want people to like my albums even more so than singles."
Lucky Day was recorded at Shaggy's Valley Stream, New York, home studio and also features guests Chaka Khan, Ricardo "Rik Rok" Ducent, Prince Mydas, Mona, and Brian and Tony Gold, who are featured on "Hey Sexy Lady," the album's first single.
Bruce "Rayvon" Brewster, who sang on Shaggy's Hotshot single "Angel," didn't
make the final cut for Lucky Day.
"That's the only drawback," said Shaggy, adding that he recorded two songs with Rayvon with the intention of getting them on Lucky Day. "It would have been cool."
The album was co-produced by Shaggy and Sting Intl., Dave Kelly, Christopher Birch and
Shaggy, born Orville Richard Burrell in Jamaica, is a former Marine and Gulf War veteran who first surfaced on the charts with a remake of Prince Buster's "Oh Carolina" from his 1993 debut album, Pure Pleasure. The single "Boombastic," featuring a sample of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," upped Shaggy's popularity even more in 1995, but when 1997's Midnite Lover failed to produce similar hits, Shaggy found himself without a record deal (see "Shaggy: Rocking You Wild").
Fortunes changed when he recorded "Luv Me, Luv Me," a Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-produced duet with Janet Jackson, and Hotshot, an
effervescent and edgy mix of reggae, R&B and pop, put the performer — and dancehall reggae — into another stratosphere, thanks to more than 10 million copies of the record sold (see "Got Charts? Linkin Park, Shaggy, 'NSYNC Are 2001's Top-Sellers").
"Since the success of Hotshot, a lot has changed for reggae music," Shaggy said.
"Record companies are looking at this music as a force to be reckoned with ... so they're
looking at reggae artists in a different light. Here comes the Sean Pauls, the Bounty Killers
and the Beenie Man, and everybody wants to sign them because they want the next Shaggy.
"I'm not mad at that — that's actually a good thing," Shaggy said. "It makes us a force to be reckoned with. It's hard for me to fight this battle by myself, and I'm not the least bit threatened by anyone at all. I do what I do and I've done my thing my way."