It Wasn't Me

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"It Wasn't Me"
Shaggy-wasn't-me.jpg
Single by Shaggy featuring Rikrok
from the album Hot Shot
B-side"Dance & Shout"
Released7 November 2000 (2000-11-07)
RecordedThe Ranch (Valley Stream, New York)
Length3:47
LabelMCA
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Shaun "Sting" Pizzonia
Shaggy singles chronology
"Luv Me, Luv Me"
(1998)
"It Wasn't Me"
(2000)
"Angel"
(2001)
Rikrok singles chronology
"It Wasn't Me"
(2000)
"Your Eyes"
(2004)

"It Wasn't Me" is the first single from Jamaican-American reggae musician Shaggy's fifth studio album, Hot Shot (2000). The song features vocals from Rikrok. The lyrics of the song depict one man (Rikrok) asking his friend (Shaggy) what to do after his girlfriend caught him cheating on her with "the girl next door". His friend's advice is to deny everything, despite clear evidence to the contrary, with the phrase "It wasn't me."

"It Wasn't Me" was released to contemporary hit radio on 7 November 2000 and has been regarded as Shaggy's breakthrough in the pop market. It is his highest-charting song to date, topping the charts in Australia, Flanders, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was the best-selling single of 2001 in the UK, selling over 1.15 million copies that year[1] and over 1.42 million as of 2017.

Background[edit]

The lyrics of "It Wasn't Me" depict one man asking his friend what to do after his girlfriend catches him having sex with another woman. His friend's advice is to deny everything, despite clear evidence to the contrary, with the phrase "It wasn't me." Ultimately, the narrator says that the advice "makes no sense at all". It is written in the key of C major.[2]

The song was inspired by a bit called "No Loyal Men," performed by Eddie Murphy in his comedy special Raw (1987).[3] In an interview in February 2016, Shaggy acknowledged similarities with the War song "Smile Happy".[4] The connection is further supported by Liam Payne's debut single of 2017, "Strip That Down", itself based on "It Wasn't Me", which credited both Shaggy (as Orville Burrell) and members of War as co-songwriters.[5][6]

The clean version of the song replaces the lyric "Picture this: we were both butt-naked banging on the bathroom floor" with "Picture this: we were both caught making love on the bathroom floor" and "Saw me banging on the sofa" with "Saw me kissing on the sofa".

"It Wasn't Me" was originally never intended to be released as a single. Before the original version of Hot Shot was released in August 2000, Hawaiian DJ Pablo Sato downloaded the album from "a Napster like MP3 site he won't name" and discovered that "It Wasn't Me" was "the album's standout cut." He played the song on American radio the next day, and in an interview, claimed, "The phone lines lit up right away. Within a couple of days, it was our number-one requested song."[7] The song was released to radio on 7 November 2000,[8] then was given a retail release on 6 February 2001 following its airplay success.[9]

The song was spoofed by Bob Rivers, as Caught Me One Handed, and makes a reference to the Scooby-Doo character, Shaggy Rogers. The video focused on him being caught masturbating (about the girl next door) by his mother.[10] The song was also spoofed on Svengoolie. On The Chris Moyles Show, the song was used as a prank call with "Shaggy" (actually impressionist Jon Culshaw) trying to book a taxi, with the final line being "Can you drop me off at The Chris Moyles Show on BBC Radio 1?, 97 to 99 FM".[11]

Chart performance[edit]

"It Wasn't Me" was Shaggy's first number one hit in the United States. The song reached number two for two weeks from 16 December[12] to 23 December 2000.[13] On 30 December, it was bumped down one position to number three.[14] It moved back up to the number two spot on 4 January 2001.[15] The song peaked at number one for two weeks in February, unseating Destiny's Child's "Independent Women Part I".[16]

The song also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on 4 March 2001, selling 345,000 copies, making the song a transatlantic chart topper.[17] It also reached number one in Australia on 1 April 2001. It is also the 11th biggest selling single of the 21st century in the United Kingdom,[18] with sales of over 1.42 million as of September 2017.[18]

As of August 2014, it is the 49th best selling single of the 21st century in France, with 399,500 units sold.[19]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Stephen Scott.[citation needed]

It starts out with Rikrok running to Shaggy's mansion to explain to him what has just happened. Rikrok tells him that he cheated on his girlfriend and got caught. Shaggy tells him to tell her that "It wasn't me." The video then cuts into a flashback to earlier that day. Rikrok has been caught sleeping with another woman, and his girlfriend is outside the apartment in her convertible when two women pull up next to her on their sport bikes.

Then, the three women go into the building. He then sneaks out the window, takes the motorcycle of one of his girlfriends accomplices and leaves. The women come out and the girlfriend and one of the accomplices get in the convertible and the other gets on her motorcycle and they chase after him. From his mansion, Shaggy, using his futuristic technology, tracks down where Rikrok is going and prepares an escape for him. Rikrok then gets on a bridge over the highway when the accomplice rode on the bridge in front of him.

He then hits the brakes to stop while she stops her motorcycle. Rikrok then hears a noise behind him and it's the other accomplices and the girlfriend driving the convertible on the other side of the bridge with the highway down below. An eighteen-wheeler drives by, and Shaggy leaves Rikrok a text message telling him to look behind and he notices the truck and jumps off the side of overhead and lands on the truck. He is then dropped off at Shaggy's mansion, showing the same scene from the start of the video.

Legacy[edit]

The lyrics of "It Wasn't Me" inspired Slate writer Josh Levin to coin the term the "Shaggy defense" to describe R. Kelly's defense at his child pornography trial stemming from the production of a sex tape: "I predict that in the decades to come, law schools will teach this as the 'Shaggy defense'. You allege that I was caught on camera, butt naked, banging on the log cabin floor? It wasn't me."[20]

Levin repeated the term on NPR.[21] The term describes a strategy of flatly denying guilt and refusing to engage with the evidence against the defendant, no matter how overwhelming. R. Kelly was ultimately found not guilty on all charges.[22]

Track listings[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[86] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[87] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[88] Platinum 50,000*
France (SNEP)[89] Platinum 500,000*
Germany (BVMI)[90] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[91]
since 2009
Gold 25,000double-dagger
Netherlands (NVPI)[92] Platinum 60,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[93] Platinum  
Sweden (GLF)[94] Platinum 30,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[95] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[96] 3× Platinum 1,428,204[18]
United States 1,908,204[97]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States 7 November 2000 Contemporary hit radio MCA [8]
14 November 2000 Urban contemporary radio [98]
7 February 2001 Maxi-CD [9]
Australia 26 February 2001 CD [99]
United Kingdom
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
  • cassette
[100]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  • The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, fifth edition

External links[edit]