“No one ever really buys into that, and I keep explaining it to people,” Shaggy — who’s partnering with Smirnoff ICE — tells PEOPLE of his signature 2000 hit

<p>David Clark Photography / Newspix via Getty Images</p>  Shaggy

David Clark Photography / Newspix via Getty Images


All summer long, Shaggy’s keeping the party going.

Ahead of his upcoming Hot Summer Nights Tour, the Jamaican-born rapper and singer is currently partnering with Smirnoff ICE for the iconic beverage’s Relaunch Tour, which kicked off in May with a concert featuring Shaggy, T-Pain, DaniLeigh and more.

“It was just one of those lineups that was legendary — kind of old-meets-new type vibe. Smirnoff Ice has always been a part of my partying era,” the “Angel” performer, 54, tells PEOPLE of collaborating with the brand , which continues its Relaunch Tour throughout the summer. “Seeing this wonderful new relaunch that they’re doing and the way they’re doing it with the cool factor, it was hard not to be a part of it.”

Over 30 years into his career, Shaggy recently sat down with PEOPLE to discuss his upcoming tour, the lasting impact of his many hit songs and how fans have long misunderstood the true meaning of “It Wasn’t Me.”

Related: TLC and Shaggy Are Teaming Up for the Ultimate Y2K Summer Tour with En Vogue and Sean Kingston

<p>Courtesy of Smirnoff ICE</p>  Shaggy

Courtesy of Smirnoff ICE


You’re gearing up to go on the Hot Summer Nights Tour with TLC, En Vogue and Sean Kingston. What are you looking forward to about those concerts and performing alongside those artists?

Well, these are all people I personally have worked with before and know. Sean and me — that’s my island boy. I’ve known him for years. It is really great to be on the bill with these wonderful ladies. I did Europe with En Vogue, I think on two occasions. The last time I saw them was on The Masked Singers, but I didn’t know it was them because they were masked up. And then afterward I realized and had actually spoken to them backstage.

As far as TLC is concerned, I’ve done like eight shows last year in America with them, and there was a massive turnout. I think Live Nation liked the idea of ​​us and them together. Then, I ended up doing Australia with them too. We did stadiums there with me, them and Akon. It’s an easy, seamless type of production with myself and TLC, and by adding En Vogue and Sean Kingston to the mix, I just think it’s just going to be a fan favorite. It’s going to be something that the fans are really, really going to enjoy. We’re just going to go out there and put on a great show, man, and have a wonderful tour.

I can’t imagine hearing all of those hit catalogs back to back to back. It’s going to be a really stacked show.

Yeah, a lot of big records. If you think of just the TLC catalog — “Waterfalls,” “No Scrubs,” “Creep,” “Unpretty.” There’s a lot of great records they got. I’m a TLC fan anyway, so it was easy.

Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Shaggy

Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Shaggy

Related: Prince Harry Sang ‘It Wasn’t Me’ to Shaggy When They First Met: He’s ‘a Fan,’ Says Singer

Your songs like “Angel,” “It Wasn’t Me,” “Boombastic,” all came out over 20 years ago, but they’re all still prominent in the culture today. How do you keep those songs fresh, both for yourself and fans, after that time has passed?

I can’t look at you and say that I keep the songs [fresh]I think the songs keep themselves [fresh], to be honest with you. I was blessed with just writing some really great records. “Boombastic” came out in 1995, bro, and TikTok has kept it alive. “It Wasn’t Me” was in 2000. “Angel” was also in 2000, and “Oh Carolina” was in 1993. “That Girl” was in ’96. So, there’s been a lot of records, just big monster records that have done it, and then we’ve had a couple of ones in between that were hits also that weren’t as major then.

We had “I Need Your Love,” which was a No. 1 radio hits. “Banana” just did two billion streams last year, and we put that out during the pandemic, and that was massive too. And of course, we got “Go Down Deh” with Sean Paul and Spice, which is now currently streaming at about four million a week. We still continue to make new music, so I think that also helps the algorithm of things going on. But these songs, as far as “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel,” are just songs that have great — Oh, I even forgot, dude, “Luv Me, Luv Me,” with Janet Jackson. Another big record. I tend to forget these songs sometimes though. it’s a good problem to have.

Despite being so closely associated with “It Wasn’t Me,” you’ve been married to Rebecca Packer for almost 10 years and share three daughters. [Shaggy also has two sons from a previous relationship.] Do you ever find that because of that song, people assume you might still be a player, even though you’re in a loving relationship?

It was a big misconception with that song because that song is not a cheating song. It’s an anti-cheating song. 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 and 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.”

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.”

Related: Shaggy Says Collab with Sting on 'Com Fly Wid Mi' Included ‘A Different Twist’ During the 2023 Grammys

Well, if you’re hearing it in the club, everyone’s just screaming and having a good time by that point in the song.

Oh dude, let me tell you. It drops in the club, and you’re under a couple of tequilas or whatnot, blah, blah, blah, your poison of choice. Trust me, you’re just on the, “It wasn’t me” part. Plus the DJ, he ain’t going to wait until it gets to the end. He’s getting to the next record by that point. So you’re only getting one narrative, bro.

<p>Courtesy of Smirnoff ICE</p>  Shaggy

Courtesy of Smirnoff ICE


That’s very true. They really have twisted your words over the years.

Yeah, but hey, I think it has helped in the life of the song. What’s so good about that song is that it was relatable throughout the years. 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. I remember having a conversation with Lionel Richie, and he said, “Shaggy, I’ve only written one song.” I couldn’t understand what he meant by that, and he said, “Yeah, I wrote the same song my whole career. It’s called, ‘I Love You.’ I’ve used it almost in every song.”

He sang, “You’re once, twice, three times a lady, and I love you” and “Lady, I’m your knight in shining armor, and I love you.” He just sat at the table just naming these songs and they all have “I love you” in it. I’m like, “Dude, how the f— you got away with that?” And he’s like, “Bro, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He said, “My band, after a while, didn’t like all these love songs because we’re a funk band. We’re ‘Brick House’ and da da da da…” And he was telling me that the Commodores were getting kind of upset because he was doing these ballads, and it became the Lionel Richie show after a while. But those ballads were working because he wrote the same song, “I love you.” Doing songs with relatable subject matter never loses, no matter how many times you do them in different melodies.

All you need is a new, hot melody and then you’ve got a brand new record.

New hot melody, talk about the same things. You know what I mean? You make a song tomorrow morning about your side piece and how good she is over your main chick and how excited you are to do it. Do it in another melody, and boom, you’re No. 1 again.

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