In “it’s 2018, so why the hell not” news, pop-rock legend Sting and Jamaican dancehall stalwart Shaggy are releasing an album together. The Caribbean-influenced LP is called 44/876 and it’s due out on 4/20 (heh) via Interscope Records.
“The most important thing to me in any kind of music is surprise,” Sting said in a recent Rolling Stone profile of the collaboration. “And everybody is surprised by this collaboration – by what they’re hearing. We’re surprising.”
The pair were introduced by Sting’s manager, Martin Kierszenbaum, who is also Shaggy’s former A&R executive. Sting was apparently impressed by some in-development Shaggy songs, and surprised the singer by sauntering into the studio where he was working while singing the hook. Shaggy told Rolling Stone, “Once he cosigned it, I was like, “Fuck, I was right! The god says it’s a hit!”
44/876 was recorded alongside artists like Robbie Shakespeare of Sly and Robbie, dancehall sensation Aidonia, DJ Agent Sasco and Sting’s guitarist, Dominic Miller. Sting International (confusing, we know), the man behind Shaggy’s biggest hits, produced the album with Kierszenbaum. He also mixed the songs with Robert “Hitmixer” Orton and Tony Lake.
Their first release is the song that initially brought them together, “Don’t Make Me Wait”. The steady, soothing guitar rhythm buoying the track is as sunny as it gets, and Sting’s smooth tenor makes for a surprisingly mellifluous pairing with Shaggy’s gonzo rhyming. It’s cheesy, but kinda sweet. Listen to it above.