Shaggy has been a dancehall staple for the better part of three decades and the artiste says he’s only too happy to fly the genre’s flag.
With his Cheetos commercial, co-starring Hollywood A-listers Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, set to debut this weekend, Shaggy sat down with Billboard to discuss the impact of dancehall and his contribution to the genre.
When asked if he believes dancehall will get its moment during the airing of the commercial, Shaggy said, “I hope it’s a step. It’s an amazing platform. I hope to do it justice. I’ve always flown the dancehall flag and my culture and my country. And to be put in this position once more, again, is an honour. And any little leg up that we could get to move the culture forward I’m 100% for.”
“This small island with about three million people has an amazing impact culturally, globally.”– Shaggy
The Angel artiste added that it’s important for fans of the game to see the commercial, which features his seminal track It Wasn’t Me, to know if dancehall’s global influence.
“A lot of people see different styles of music coming up. When you look at reggaetón, [before] reggaetón comes dancehall. Those are things that people need to know…When you look at Afrobeats, I remember going to Africa for years … Dancehall was the main music played in a lot of these countries. And when you listen to Afrobeats, it’s also a birth child of what dancehall was,” he said.
He continued, “So it’s great for this platform to educate people on the significance of the Jamaican culture and dancehall culture and popular music. Hip-hop itself came from Kool Herc, originated out of Jamaica. This small island with about three million people has an amazing impact culturally, globally. And it should be celebrated and at least people should be educated on it. So I’ll use this platform to do that.”
Regarding him reprising the role from his Billboard Hot 100 chart topper for the commercial, Shaggy said “It was great. We had to re-create the jacket, of course. But it was good to put it back in there and just kind of rock 20 years after and still play the role. The whole role was like a Hugh Hefner character. So it was good to really jump into that.”
The Super Bowl will air on Sunday, February 7.