It Wasn't Me

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"It Wasn't Me"
Shaggy-wasn't-me.jpg
Single by Shaggy
from the album Hot Shot
B-side "Dance & Shout"
Released September 11, 2000[1]
Format
Recorded 2000
Genre
Length 3:47
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Shaun "Sting" Pizzonia
Shaggy singles chronology
"Luv Me, Luv Me"
(1998)
"It Wasn't Me"
(2000)
"Angel"
(2000)

"It Wasn't Me" is the first single from Jamaican-American reggae artist Shaggy's multi-Platinum studio album Hot Shot (2000). The song features vocals from Shaggy, and RikRok. The lyrics of the song depict one man asking his friend what to do, after his girlfriend caught 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."

"It Wasn't Me" has been regarded as Shaggy's breakthrough in the pop market, and is his highest charting song to date, topping the charts in Australia, Austria, France, Ireland, the United States, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It was the best selling single of 2001 in the United Kingdom, selling over 1.15 million copies that year[2] 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".

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 then released as the album's first single in September 2000, following its radio success. The song is written in the key of C, in the Mixolydian mode.

The song was spoofed by Bob Rivers, as Shaggy One Handed, making 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.[8] The song was also spoofed on Svengoolie. On The Chris Moyles Show, the song was used as a prank call with Shaggy 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".[9]

Chart performance[edit]

"It Wasn't Me" was Shaggy's first number-one hit in the United States. The song peaked at number two for two weeks from December 16, 2000[10] to December 23, 2000.[11] On December 30, 2000, it was bumped down one position to number three.[12] It moved back up to the number two spot on January 4, 2001.[13]

The song also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on March 4, 2001, selling 345,000 copies, making the song a transatlantic chart topper.[14] It also reached number one in Australia on April 1, 2001. It is also the 11th biggest selling single of the 21st century in the United Kingdom,[15] with sales of over 1.42 million as of September 2017.[15]

As of August 2014, it is the 49th best selling single of the 21st century in France, with 399,500 units sold.[16]

Music video[edit]

The music video was directed by Stephen Scott.

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 motorcycles (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."[17]

Levin repeated the term on NPR.[18] 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.[19]

The song was referenced by Trevor Noah on an episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in October 2016, when he covered the vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Tim Kaine, as Pence vehemently kept denying his running mate Donald Trump's claims, despite the fact that the claims have been proved to be said by Trump on camera or through his Twitter account.[20]

Track listings[edit]

  • UK

CD Single

  1. "It Wasn't Me" (Radio Edit) – 3:43
  2. "It Wasn't Me" (Vocal 12" Mix) – 3:49
  3. "Dance & Shout" (Pussy 2000 Club Mix Edit) – 8:07
  4. "It Wasn't Me" (Enhanced Video) – 3:43

Cassette single

  1. "It Wasn't Me" (Radio Edit) – 3:43
  2. "It Wasn't Me" – 3:47
  • U.S.
  1. "It Wasn't Me" – 3:47
  2. "It Wasn't Me" (Squeaky Remix) – 4:25
  3. "It Wasn't Me" (Instrumental) – 3:47
  4. "It Wasn't Me" (Sports Remix) – 3:27
  • Australia
  1. "It Wasn't Me" (Radio Edit) – 3:43
  2. "It Wasn't Me" (Vocal 12" Mix) – 3:49
  3. "Dance & Shout" (Pussy 2000 Club Mix Edit) – 8:07
  4. "Dance & Shout" (Dancehall Version) – 3:46
  5. "It Wasn't Me" (Enhanced Video) – 3:43

Charts and sales[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ [1]
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  20. ^ Trevor Noah, October 4, 2016. Vice Presidential Debate Wrap-Up
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  • The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, fifth edition

External links[edit]