Shaggy Shares the True Meaning Behind “It Wasn’t Me” 

It’s been decades since Shaggy – Orville Burrell – dropped “It Wasn’t Me.” Fans have misinterpreted the lyrics for years, and now Shaggy is setting the record straight. 

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Before Shaggy embarks on his Hot Summer Nights Tour with En Vogue and Sean Kingston, the Jamaican rapper sat down with People to discuss his smash single with Rik Rok. 

“It Wasn’t Me” was the lead single from his multi-platinum 2000 album, Hot Shot. The light-hearted melody that is infused with reggae-like instrumentals showcases Shaggy’s smooth sound and unique songwriting. 

Many listeners assumed Shaggy, Rik Rok, and Shaun Pizzonia used comic relief to deliver a track about infidelity, but the hitmaker recently declared that it is “not a cheating song.” 

“It was a big misconception with that song because that song is not a cheating song. It’s an anti-cheating song,” Shaggy told the publication. “It’s just that nobody listened to the record to the end. There’s a part in the record where it’s a conversation between two people.

“You have one guy, which is me at that point, giving that bad advice, like, ‘Yo, bro, how could you get caught? Just tell her, It wasn’t me. And then at the end, the guy says, ‘I’m going to tell her that I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused. I’ve been listening to your reasoning, it makes no sense at all. Going to tell her that I’m sorry for the pain that I’ve caused. You might think that you’re a player, but you’re completely lost.'”

The rapper continued, “Nobody hears that part! That’s what the song says. But everybody’s just caught up on that, It wasn’t me, it wasn’t me. It’s an anti-cheating song. No one ever really buys into that, and I keep explaining it to people. Then, they go listen to it back and be like, ‘Oh dude, I totally missed that.’

“It Wasn’t Me” continues to be played on playlists to this day. Despite the misconception, Shaggy believes fans relate to the lyrics, and that’s why it remains relevant. 

“It has helped in the life of the song. What’s so good about that song is that it was relatable throughout the years,” he explained. “People do have this whole situation with cheating, and the thing about that is that you could be young, old, Black, white, straight, gay, whatever it is, it’s still relatable.” 

“It Wasn’t Me” is one of many anthems on Shaggy’s setlist on his nationwide tour in partnership with Smirnoff ICE. The run will kick off Friday night (June 1), in Pelham, Alabama, and is scheduled to wrap in mid-July.  

(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

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