Jay-Z Turned Down Ed Sheeran On A “Shape Of You” Feature
Jay-Z is no stranger to popping up as a featured guest on huge pop songs — just last week in our The Number Ones column, we covered his awkward verse on Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Well, it turns out he could have been on a different #1 song. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Ed Sheeran revealed that Jay-Z turned down the opportunity to have a guest verse on “Shape Of You,” a song that would eventually top the charts in 34 countries.
“We were in touch,” Sheeran said. “I sent him the song, and he said, ‘I don’t think the song needs a rap verse.’ He was probably right. He’s got a very, very good ear. He usually gets things right. It was a very natural, respectful pass.”
That single came out in 2017, and it seems like Jay-Z might have regretted the decision a couple years later. In 2019, Stormzy told a story about when Jay was eager to hop on “Take Me Back To London,” a track that appeared on Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project. But Stormzy was the one that shut down Jay-Z that time around: “I don’t think this is the right song for us,” Stormzy told him. “I don’t know why I’m saying this to you but this is not the song.”
In the same RS feature, said there is no point in having music critics anymore: “Why do you need to read a review? Listen to it. It’s freely available! Make up your own mind. I would never read an album review and go, ‘I’m not gonna listen to that now.'”