Clothes Drop

Studio Album by released in 2005

Clothes Drop review

Five years ago, Shaggy became the reggae loverman with his mix of pop-dancehall jams, platinum hooks and tourist-friendly Jamaican charisma. Clothes Drop, Shaggy's sixth studio album, is a non-stop boomshot of a record, a varied and invigorating explosion of tough rhythms, with Shaggy's unique rough-and-smooth toasts devoted to music, women, fun and even the spirit. Shaggy is known for his collaborations and there are some noteworthy guests on Clothes Drop including Olivia from G-Unit, Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussycat Dolls, Rayvon (who sang with Shaggy on the 2001 super hit Angel), newcomer Natasha Watkins, reggae singer Brian Gold and will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. Recorded in Jamaica and New York, Shaggy worked with a variety of producers on Clothes Drop including the quintessential Jamaican rhythm geniuses Sly and Robbie, R&B hitmakers Soulshock & Karlin, hit making track producer Scott Storch, as well as long time Shaggy producers Sting International, Armando Colon, Tony Kelly, Dwayne Skippy, Michael Fletcher and Robert Livingston.

Shaggy, born Orville Richard Burrell, in Kingston, Jamaica moved to New York at 18, which has made him uniquely suited for shaping the stark and often insular grooves of dancehall reggae into a form palatable to American ears. Clothes Drop doesn’t mess much with this proven formula, painting Shaggy’s island rhythms and playful, bawdy lyrics with smart touches of rap and R&B. Wild 2Nite, which features the seductive coos of G-Unit diva Olivia, is the most obvious crossover attempt and suffers for its lack of guile. But tunes like Ready Fi Di Ride, which tops a stuttering beat with engaging synth-pop melody, and the slow burning Supa Hypnotic, which matches Shaggy's deep, throaty rhymes with Pussycat Doll Nicole Sherzinger’s breathy come-ons, strike the right balance. Sometimes the undulating basslines of Shaggy's smooth/rugged dancehall end up supporting strong and grown-up tracks of social injustice and a measured pace of living. The glancing Bob Marley update Stand Up finds Shaggy waxing political, while Repent is talking about the state of the world, the fact that we all need to pray and repent. Of course, being Shaggy, this all unfolds before a fatherly chat with his troublesome private parts in Ahead in Life.

After selling more than 11 million copies of his last album, Hot Shot, Shaggy officially put dancehall reggae in the pop charts and became the genre's most successful ambassador. Pop reggae isn't exactly a job for life, and Orville Burrell's impressive longevity (his first hit was 12 years ago) proves that he's a smart operator as well as a smooth one. Musically and lyrically, Clothes Drop is more pop-oriented, melodic and restrained, and is all the brighter for it. It is a typically canny and diverse selection. Shaggy fans will definitely like this album and his voice will attract new listeners through its uniqueness.