Shaggy Mr Lover Lover...The Best Of Review

BBC Review

First retrospective of Shaggy's meteoric career. A mouth-watering selection of choices...

Keysha Davis 2002

Shaggy has steadily seeped into the hearts and consciousness of the record buying public. Who would've thought the Jamaican born, former Marine would eclipse his Scooby Doo namesake in becoming a modern-day, iconic figure? And just like his canine affiliates, Shaggy definitely has an exceptional sense of smell - especially for sniffing out likeable, danceable, reggae-tinged hits.

He first introduced us to his unique brand of music with debut hit "Oh Carolina", one of the standout tracks on The Best of Shaggy&Part 1. From it's Gospel tinged, repeated piano intro, the song forms into a ska influenced, rock'n'soul fest which compliments Shaggy's 'now trademark' gruff vocal tones perfectly. Heading straight to number one, this track set the precedence for a level of achievement which Shaggy, unlike many of his reggae peers, has managed to maintain throughout the years.

Exactly what sets Shaggy apart from other artists is unquestionable. His appeal is similar to a Caribbean all inclusive holiday: sexy, in a naughty, cheeky, Carry On movie vein; fun, with enough Caribbean flavour to tantalise; and slightly rugged, but not at the expense of alienating his family orientated fan-base. Whether you choose to love him or loathe him, the number of hit records saturated throughout this CD exemplifies his results-orientated work ethic. After the worldwide appeal of "Oh Carolina", the mammoth "Boombastic" made it's way to the top of the charts with a little help from a groundbreaking Levi jeans advert which cleverly featured the song. The track, complete with dramatic, heavy-metal guitar riff and Shaggy's fanciful boasts of being "&Mr Lover, Lover" was a constant talking point, and source of imitation. On this CD expect a bonus mix of "Boombastic" which samples the original Mr Loverman - Marvin Gaye.

Shaggy appears to thrive off collaborations, and there isn't a shortage here, with a diverse mix of artists lending a helping hand. Artists include Janet Jackson, Rayvon, and Maxi Priest. Reggae purists will be thrilled by the duet with Rayvon, a dancehall orientated number entitled Big Up - an energetic ode to the ladies. In The Summertime reworks the classic 'reggae style' by incorporating a heavy bassline, calypso type percussion, and Shaggy raving on about a girl who is sweeter than a honeybee. There are over 20 tracks on this cd, and whether you like it slow-paced or fast, smoothed or grooved, Shaggy, like the loverman he is, gently aims to please by providing a mouth-watering selection of choices which warms the heart, but also seduces the body and soul.

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