I was born in the late 80s and most of my growing up took place between the 1990s and the early 2000s. So it is natural I would have an affinity for the music of my youth. From REM telling me it is the end of the world and I should be okay with it, to Eminem telling me he would stand up if we correctly identified him. The music of my youth was varied and helped shape my musical tastes as an adult. But there has always been one song from this time period that baffled me. I understand that music is written to express emotion, motivate people, make a point, and at its very root entertain. But there is one song that has stood out to me as odd, and I finally figured out why.
In 2000 our radios and televisions were graced with the hit song “It Wasn’t Me” by hip hop artist Shaggy featuring Rikrok. The song tells the tale of a man (RikRok) caught cheating on his girlfriend over and over in incredibly obvious and sometimes gross places. While describing all of the times he has been caught, Shaggy listens intently providing advice on how to be a player and simply responds by instructing RikRok to tell his girlfriend, “It wasn’t me”. But why? This seems like terrible advice for RikRok! He was caught red-handed!
Then, while listening to the song the explanation for Shaggy’s poor advice struck me. I figured out why he would give his friend such a horrid excuse: It works for Shaggy. It is evident to me, while him talking about being a player should explain why the advice works, it simply does not because you cannot make someone forget what they’ve clearly seen unless… you can.
It is clear that Shaggy has the powers of telepathy and hypnosis. These telepathic powers allow him to rewrite the memories of those he desires. This isn’t the first time that Shaggy has put his powers on display for us, however. He had a hit song long before “It Wasn’t Me”…
Back in the day, and by that I mean 1995, Shaggy was on the charts. He had a song called “Mr. Boombastic”. This track spoke of how he was a great lover, women loved him, and they refereed to him as “Mr. Boombastic”. While the song states “she calls me Mr. Boomnbastic” it doesn’t directly tell us to call him that. Which is interesting as anyone from that time period knows Shaggy as “Mr. Boombastic”.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Chris, that is just how it works, people get labeled by their band name or biggest hit. Don’t you know Darius Rucker is not actually Hootie?”. First off, shut up. Darius Rucker is Hootie in my heart and that is all that matters. Secondly, I wish it were as simple as him being labeled by his hit song. He used hypnosis to cause an entire generation of people to refer to him as “Mr. Boombastic”, the name his lovers give him, his name of power.
Hypnosis works through repetition and calming tones. Shaggy has a deep, warm voice and he repeats his key phrases over and over, lulling us into submission. Shaggy’s telepathy is so advanced and powerful.
that he can use the power of hypnosis through the radio and television to bend people to his will. By establishing his name of power in 1995 and his power phrase in 2000, Shaggy is slowly manipulating our minds through popular music. But to what end? What does Shaggy hope to accomplish? That is not for us to know, but I am certain we will be hearing from him again… sooner than we think.