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Shaggy's 'real' voice


The Jamaican American singer Shaggy is well known for his iconic singing style.


SHAGGY: (Singing) She call me Mr. Boombastic, tell me fantastic. Touch me on my back, she says I'm Mr. Romantic...

DETROW: But Mr. Boombastic apparently caught some of his fans by surprise recently when he posted an interview to his TikTok where he revealed that the accent in his singing voice is not his actual accent. It's just a voice he developed, Shaggy said, mimicking drill instructors during his time in the Marines.

SHAGGY: Because in the Marines, the drill instructors would go, hey boy, drop and give me 20; let's go, boy. And I would mock them as a form of joking because it motivated, you know, your platoon.


SHAGGY: Carolina, whine your body, gyal (ph).

DETROW: Shaggy served four years in the military, including a deployment to the Middle East during the first Gulf War, before he began pursuing his music career. And that drill instructor voice - it was there on Shaggy's first big hit, "Oh Carolina."


SHAGGY: (Singing) Oh, Carolina.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Singing) Prowl off, jump and prance.

SHAGGY: I just sang that song in that voice because it sounded cool. And all of a sudden, "Oh Carolina" blew up, and now I'm faced with a situation that I'm going to have to sing every song like that.

DETROW: And he has, winning two Grammys and selling millions of albums along the way. Now, none of this stuff about his accent is necessarily new. Shaggy has been giving interviews with his regular speaking voice for years. But for whatever reason, this took the internet by storm in recent days, and a whole lot of fans have been going online to say, you guessed it, that voice - it wasn't him. Or as this TikTok user put it...


UNIDENTIFIED TIKTOKER: I'm sorry, but what did you say? I've been lied to my whole life.

DETROW: Or maybe it's all just a good excuse to listen to Shaggy's hits again.


SHAGGY: (Singing) Carolina is a girl. She deh pon top of di world (ph). Well now she rock her body and a move just like a squirrel. I say, young baby girl. I said, I love how you move. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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