When Orville Burrell perused the charts for the week of February 17, 2001, it was good news all round. The artist who, for the previous eight years, had been known to the world as Shaggy, the master of Jamaican pop-rap, was on the march again.
Fuelled by its hot single ‘It Wasn’t Me,’ which would soon be No. 1 in the US, UK, Australia and far beyond, Shaggy’s new album ‘Hot Shot’ climbed to the top of the Billboard 200 on this day 14 years ago. The ascent had taken six months, but the wait was worthwhile: the album went on to reign for six non-consecutive weeks, flip-flopping with the Dave Matthews Band’s ‘Everyday.’
That same week that ‘Hot Shot’ made the American chart peak, it made a modest entry to the UK bestsellers. By June, fuelled by the chart-topping success of both ‘It Wasn’t Me’ and the follow-up ‘Angel,’ the album was No. 1 there too. That was a dramatic improvement on the respective No. 67 and 37 peaks of his previous albums, ‘Pure Pleasure’ and ‘Boombastic.’
In the US, ‘Boombastic’ had won the Grammy Award for Reggae Album, and eventually sold a million, reaching No. 34. But ‘Hot Shot’ was an entirely different story. The album finished 2001 as the second bestselling artist set of the year, with sales measured by SoundScan at 4,507,468. That was second only to Linkin Park’s 4,812,852 for ‘Hybrid Theory.’ By the mid-2000s, Shaggy was the bestselling Jamaican artist in the world.