Wah Gwaan?

BY Ryan B. PatrickPublished May 14, 2019

Veteran artists such as Shaggy are in a difficult spot. Having peaked in the late '90s and early '00s — and using "peaked" in a most respectful and nonjudgmental manner — new output will invariably be shunted into an increased unfortunate lens. Hardcore fans know that Shaggy is still a capable artist, while casuals are skipping tracks searching for reworked versions of 2000's "It Wasn't Me."
Wah Gwaan? takes stock of an artist in a seemingly no-win situation.  While competently produced and orchestrated, there's a listless energy hanging over the project. It's fodder for the nostalgia circuit, and fleshes out an already extensive back catalogue. "When She Loves Me" is a chill love-you-up number that's adequate, while "Wrong Room" feels like a '90s track through and through, yet succeeds on its intentional earnestness: "If you're the smartest person in that room, you're in the wrong room."
"Supernatural," featuring Stacy Barthe, finds its feet in a EDM-meets-dancehall stance. Shaggy asks Wah Gwaan? — "what's going on?" for the patois challenged— and the answer is, Shaggy's doing just fine, thanks for asking. He'll always be remembered for "It Wasn't Me," "Boombastic" and to a lesser extent "Oh Carolina." This album doesn't move the needle but Shaggy is in cruise control at the point, so it's all good.

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