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How Sting and Shaggy teamed up for a wild, Caribbean-Inflected New Album

In what’s probably the first time anyone outside their inner circle has ever even considered superstar former Police frontman Sting and the “It Wasn’t Me” guy, Shaggy, in the same thought, the two men announced today that they will release a new collaborative, Caribbean-inflected album.

In an extensive feature on Rolling Stone published this morning, the pair are interviewed in the final days of recording for the new album, entitled 44/876, due out on 4/20 (because, of course it is). Sting, a 16-time GRAMMY-winner (and 38-time nominee) and Shaggy, a two-hit wonder reggae-pop sensation who made it huge 18 years ago and faded into relative obscurity just as quickly, both acknowledge that this new collaboration is surprising to, well, everybody.

As Sting tells Rolling Stone, “The most important thing to me in any kind of music is surprise, and everybody is surprised by this collaboration – by what they’re hearing. We’re surprising.”

The two share an obvious connection to Reggae music. Sting, like many British artist of his age, were heavily influenced by reggae an ska (see: “Roxanne“), and Shaggy, born in Kingston, embodies the duo’s direct lineage to Jamaica.

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As the Rolling Stone piece explains, “The duo first hooked up this summer during a Shaggy session at L.A.’s The Village studio.” Sting had received an in-progress Shaggy tune from a mutual associate and was immediately infatuated with the track. He immediately headed to Shaggy’s studio from his Malibu hom, surprising Shaggy by singing the song’s hook as he strolled through the door. “I just said, ‘as far as I know, that sounds like a hit to me,'” Sting tells Rolling Stone, “I sang on the chorus, and then we tried to figure out a way to make it more of me than just a chorus, so we got a verse together.” Adds Shaggy, “Once he cosigned it, I was like, ‘F*ck, I was right! The god says it’s a hit!'”

Today, the pair released the first song from the album, “Don’t Make Me Wait”. The sunny tune melds Sting’s distinctively wistful vocal tone and Shaggy’s percussive, infectious patois in thoroughly satisfying fashion–so much so that the song inevitably gets caught in your head by the time you finish your first listen. Don’t worry, you’ll hear it again: This track is sure to be a big hit, and is destined to get plenty of play on the radio and beyond in the coming weeks.

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