Ed Sheeran Says Jay-Z Turned Down Feature Spot on “Shape of You”

“Shape of You” is surely Ed Sheeran’s most successful single he’s ever put out. But this week, he revealed it could have been even bigger.

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In a new cover story for Rolling Stone, Ed Sheeran revealed that Jay-Z was a potential featured guest for “Shape of You.” However, when presented with the song, Hov turned down the offer from Sheeran.

“We were in touch. I sent him the song, and he said, ‘I don’t think the song needs a rap verse.’ He was probably right. He’s got a very, very good ear,” he said. “[Jay-Z] usually gets things right. It was a very natural, respectful pass.”

To this day, Sheeran and Jay-Z have never collaborated on a song, even though Sheeran worked with his wife Beyoncé for “Perfect Duet” in 2017. Without Hov’s help, though, “Shape of You” spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the longest any of Sheeran’s songs have spent.

Additionally, January 2019 saw the song become an RIAA-certified diamond single, signaling that it achieved 10x platinum status. It appears Jay-Z was correct in his assertion that he was not needed on the track.

However, Hov has lent his talents to other songs from pop stars before. Hits like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (2007) and Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” (2013) both proved Jay-Z’s mainstream appeal and elite versatility. But in the case of “Shape of You,” Jay-Z perhaps proved his wisdom and humility instead.

Sheeran’s cover story with Rolling Stone comes in the midst of a media tour for his upcoming May album – (Subtract). In the past couple of weeks, he has already confirmed plans for his eventual posthumous album, as well as a new docuseries on Disney+.

With – (Subtract), Sheeran is hoping to recapture the success of his most triumphant releases, such as the aforementioned “Shape of You” from his 2017 album ÷ (Divide).

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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