Shaggy Says He Passed on Working with Rihanna Because He Had to 'Audition to Be on the Record'
Rihanna's upcoming album will be her ninth and her first since 2016's Anti
The reggae singer, 51, says he passed on a chance to collaborate with the “Work” songstress, 31, after he was asked to audition for the hotly anticipated record, according to a new interview.
“They approached me for the Rihanna project, yeah,” he told British newspaper the Daily Star. “There’s a lot of great people involved but for me I didn’t need to audition to be on the record, I’ll leave that to younger guys. But from what I hear, it should be good.”
While he may not be working with Rihanna, the musician said he welcomed artists taking inspiration from the dancehall genre.
“It’s healthy competition. Dancehall is in good place, but we need as many people to do this art form as possible,” he told the outlet. “When it crosses over and becomes popular with artists from other genres and other cultures, that can only be good.”
Reps for Shaggy and Rihanna did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Last year, Rihanna told Vogue that her long-awaited album would definitely be a “reggae-inspired or reggae-infused” piece of work.
“It’s not gonna be typical of what you know as reggae. But you’re going to feel the elements in all of the tracks,” she shared. “Even though I’ve explored other genres of music, it was time to go back to something that I haven’t really homed in on completely for a body of work.”
In May, the Grammy winner confirmed to The New York Times’ T Style magazine that she has been hard at work on a new album, which she has since been referring to as R9, but that fans should not expect a collaboration with Lady Gaga or Drake, contrary to rumors.
“Not anytime soon, I don’t see it happening,” she said of working again with frequent collaborator Drake. “Not on this album, that’s for sure.”
Rihanna trolled fans about new music in December, sharing a teasing video of a white puppy hilariously headbanging to House of Pain’s 1992 hit “Jump Around.”
“Update: me listening to R9 by myself and refusing to release it,” she joked in the caption.
The “Love on the Brain” performer also cheekily strung fans along in October when she posted a photo of herself dabbing her forehead with a tissue where, behind her, a crowd of people smiled and held up their phones to capture the star on their cameras.
“I feel attacked. ***valley girl who’s never been attacked voice*** R9 chronicles,” she wrote.
In response to a fan who asked, “where is the m.u.s.i.c. ???” on Instagram the previous month, she commented back, “I know I know sis. I’m doing music. Simultaneously doing lingerie, makeup, film, amongst a couple other things that I enjoy. when the music is ready, you won’t have to ask for it. But it’s coming. Just not today sis. I’m hype too tho, it can’t come soon enough for me.”
The album will be Rihanna’s ninth and her first since 2016’s Anti.