Shaggy headlines at Old Duke concert

Famed rapper and reggae singer Shaggy will bring his talent—and his famous denial—to campus come April.

The name behind the single “It Wasn’t Me,” Shaggy will perform at the annual Old Duke concert this Spring, Duke University Union announced Wednesday. The Jamaican-American singer will headline in the Keohane Amphitheater Apr. 13, with opening act Cris Cab—another reggae-style artist.

Old Duke is typically a throwback tribute to the students, focusing on their music preferences, said freshman Willa Townsend, chair of the Joe College committee that is responsible for the concert. Last year, Sugar Ray headlined Old Duke.

“Our vision for Old Duke is to have a very relaxed atmosphere and to complement that we brought an artist that we knew everyone would recognize,” Townsend said. “Shaggy is known for throwing concerts that have a lot energy but also have a very chill vibe.”

The committee is excited to put on Old Duke to give students a relaxing, fun day that they will remember for the rest of their time at Duke, Townsend said. The concert, famous for its free T-shirts and activities, will focus on giving the students what they want.

Sophomore Ashley Helms, senior member of the Joe College committee, said she hopes the unofficial reggae theme and the complementary styles of the artists will add to the laid-back atmosphere DUU hopes to create.

“[Shaggy]’s the perfect choice for Old Duke because he’s one of those classic 90s artists,” junior Ben Stan said. “Those kinds of acts are perfect because they bring people back to their childhood.”

The timing of Shaggy’s performance is also notable, as the artist just released a new record—his first in four years—titled “Summer in Kingston.”

“It should be a really cool, fun and summery concert that will get people really excited about the end of the year,” Helms said. “It’ll be fun to have some of the old songs from when we were in middle school, but we’re also excited to hear his new stuff.”

Shaggy will not be the only artist at Old Duke with a new mix out. Although the performers were booked separately, Cab’s recently released single “Turn You On” is a collaboration with Shaggy and Melanie Fiona. Both Helms and Townsend said they hope the two will perform the song at the concert.

“We’re so excited about having Cris Cab,” Townsend said. “He’s really trending up in the music scene right now. The fact that we got him before he got really big says a lot about the students that pick the artist. We really want the students to be able to look back and say, ‘Hey, we saw Cris Cab before he got huge.’”

A number of students said they are excited for Shaggy’s performance.

“I’m actually going a little crazy, knowing that Shaggy, my angel, is coming to Duke,” said sophomore Zac Pearlstein. “I’m hoping that he’ll stare me right into the heart and soul when he’s singing Angel and that we’ll connect in some way.”

Correction: Shaggy's newest album is in fact "Summer in Kingston." An earlier version of this article stated otherwise. The Chronicle regrets the error.


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