An Open Letter to Shaggy

Dear Orville Richard Burrell (Shaggy),

Tale as old as time: honey caught me red-handed creeping with the girl next door. Oh, the emotion it conjures! A twisting tale of love, sex and betrayal, It Wasn’t Me will live on in infamy for as long as we’re bumping throwback jams on a Thursday night.

I thank you for this, and the world thanks you for this. You opened the door for reggae crossover music and without that, where would Rihanna be? And though I’ve done some reading up on the story behind this certified bop and know you didn’t actually write the song, you were the one who took it on and brought it into the airwaves. With that, I have a few things to say about the implausibility of your lyrics.

We’ll start from the beginning (all right…):


Honey came in and she caught me red-handed

Creeping with the girl next door

First of all, this doesn’t bode well, Shaggy. Your friend Rikrok is begging your sensibilities, your wisdom to help him out of a real dilemma. The evidence is all right here, laid out on the bathroom floor. There is no doubt Rikrok was banging the girl next door, and yet you encourage him to say that it wasn’t him.


How could I forget that I had given her an extra key?

All this time she was standing there

She never took her eyes off me


Again: Rikrok is in real trouble, Shaggy. He’s an idiot and he’s here to own up to that. Your front doorway is his confessional; You are his priest. He’s here to repent his crimes and seek a path to forgiveness. He forgot he gave her an extra key! And she was standing right there, Shaggy, she never took her eyes off him! If you’re going to advise him to lie to her face, you had better have some good reasoning.

Turns out, ya don’t.


How ya fi give ya woman access to your villa?

Trespass and a witness all the hackling on the pillow

You better watch your back before she turn into a killer


Okay so one thing: this woman is not trespassing! SHE HAS A KEY, ORVILLE! He gave her access to his villa willingly, and now he must pay the consequences. If she turn into a killer, it’ll be because instead of begging for forgiveness on his knees, you talked him into flat out denying it.


To be a true player you've to know how to play

If she say a night, convince her say a day

Never admit to a word what she say

And if she claim a yuh, tell her, baby no way


Okay, okay. I understand where you’re coming from a little bit. You’ve clearly studied up on this. tipped me off to a little Shakespeare you’re referencing and I must admit I’m impressed. Shall we read over Act IV, Scene V of The Taming of The Shrew?



2   Good Lord, how bright and goodly shines the moon!


  3   The moon! the sun: it is not moonlight now.


  4   I say it is the moon that shines so bright.


  5   I know it is the sun that shines so bright.


By insisting it is so, Petruchio hopes to make an obedient wife who believes every word he says. Mad points for the reasoning, but I’m still not buying it. This girl has been clearly wronged and I doubt she’s looking to compromise here. Rikrok feels similarly, as he pleads for you to really hear what he’s saying.


But she caught me on the counter (Wasn't me)

Saw me banging on the sofa (Wasn't me)

I even had her in the shower (Wasn't me)

She even caught me on camera (Wasn't me)


Rikrok has a real devil-on-the-shoulder situation going on here, and you’re embodying it. She has real live video footage, Orville. Your lies would not stand in a court of law, and it won’t stand now.


She saw the marks on my shoulder (Wasn't me)

Hears the words that I told her (Wasn't me)

As the screams get louder (Wasn't me)

She stayed until it was over


And that’s what it is, Shaggy. It’s over! She stood there watching it with her own two eyes! She’s seen the marks and heard the words and, need I remind you, she has video footage! She’s covered all her bases! And how is Rikrok gonna just stand there, literally naked on top of a woman, and say it wasn’t him? I repeat: she stayed until it was over and she caught him red-handed. This makes no sense.


A smaddy else a favor you inna di complex

Seeing is believing so you better change your specs


According to my research, that first line is Jamaican slang trying to say that somebody else looks like Rikrok. There was an evil twin in Rikrok’s villa having sex with the neighbor girl and he borrows the shower sometimes to do so. In fact, not only is this girl accusing you of being your evil twin, but she had bad eye-sight.

Oh, Orville. No. Rikrok sees through you, too.


Wanna tell her that I'm sorry

For the pain that I've caused

I've been listening to your reason

It makes no sense at all


Thank you, Rikrok for seeing the truth. Thank you for seeing reason and ignoring the ill-fated advice of your pal. Instead of leaving with a solution to your problem from your wise wizard of a friend, you depart with some words for him.


You may think that you're a player

But you're completely lost


Completely lost, indeed. It’s been fifteen years since this nostalgic jam hit airwaves, but we all know who the real winner of this song is. Sorry to say, Shaggy, but it isn’t you.