Dancehall / Feature

Shaggy Talks Representing Dancehall & Jamaica At Super Bowl LV In Cheetos Ad

It’s been over two decades now that veteran dancehall artiste Shaggy has been proudly flying the Jamaican flag. He has numerous accolades to his name and is probably the most recognizable face of dancehall in the US at this time. His most recent commercial success featured him advising Mila Kunis to recite one of his most popular song’s chorus, “It Wasn’t Me,” along with her husband Ashton Kutcher in the Cheetos’ Super Bowl LV commercial.

The commercial is about a minute long and will be aired during Super Bowl LV this Sunday, February 7. While this is not by any means his first breakthrough on US television, it does have a lot of star-power and the potential for his face and song to be streamed to millions around the world come Sunday. “It Wasn’t Me” is the song that just keeps on giving. It was released over 20 years ago from his multiplatinum album “Hot Shot.” The words are masterfully reworked to suit the situation in the commercial.

“You the one who granted access to your snacks/Don’t act surprised that she sneak behind ya back/ You gotta keep tabs before she empty that bag/Let’s review the situation, orange fingers red flag,” he sings to Ashton Kutcher in the remix for the commercial. Billboard caught up with Shaggy to talk more about how he felt to have his song, after so many years, bring him even more success. He shared that he’s actually not done with the song and that he has five different remixes in mind, which include a reggaetón remix and an ’80s retro remix. However, for him, the biggest honor of this moment is being able to represent Jamaica and dancehall on a global level.

“I’ve always flown the dancehall flag for my culture and my country. And to be put in this position once more, again, is an honor So it’s great for this platform to educate people on the significance of the Jamaican culture and dancehall culture and popular music,” he said.

Shaggy also said that it was an amazing feeling to know that the song is still so loved after 20 years. He also described the moment as “perfect alignment of the stars,” considering the fact that this is the first time a home team is going to play on their home ground. He anticipates because of the pandemic, it might be one of the most viewed super bowls in history.

The “Boombastic” singer also shared a bit more about the remixes that he is currently working on for the song.

“We have the Cheetos Mix coming out, which I was in studio to [record]. We’re doing about five remixes of “It Wasn’t Me” that’s available on Super Bowl Sunday that you can stream. And we got Chester the Cheetah. He’s got bars. [Laughs] Dude, let me tell you, this is so crazy. Chester did his thing on this track, yo! [Laughs] Chester’s doing the music video and everything! It’s crazy,” he added.

Shaggy revealed that they had to re-create the jacket from the original video, which was a silk purple one. The idea behind the jacket was to play a role like the late Hugh Hefner. He also had high praises for working with the Kutchers. He said it was obvious to see that the two were made for each other and how their friendship had led them to a real loving partnership.

“That’s the perfect situation when you say, “I gotta marry this best friend.” Because it was jokes back and forth with both of them. Their chemistry was so amazing. They’re still so in love, it’s still great. And I was just like a student just sitting there, just soaking it all up, because I’m really in their arena right now,” he continued.

He was very aware of what the opportunity represents as well, saying that it is a chance for people of the world to get exposed to other cultures. He said this is usually done through both music and commercials, including the halftime show. This year it will be performed by The Weeknd.

“Some of the musical elements of the Super Bowl, whether it’s the halftime show or the commercials, have the power to give different cultures a larger, global platform,” he said. Shaggy added that he hoped that this was dancehall’s turn to be exposed on a global level and that he was honored to be a conduit for this cause.

“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 honor. And any little leg up that we could get to move the culture forward I’m 100% for,” he said.