Turns out, Jay-Z wasn’t in love with the “Shape of You.” While speaking with Rolling Stone for his March cover story, Ed Sheeran revealed that the rapper turned down his request to collaborate on his 2017 smash hit.
“We were in touch,” Sheeran recalled. “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.”
The pop track went on to be released as one of two lead singles, along with “Castle on the Hill,” off Sheeran’s third studio album Divide. It became the musician’s best-charting hit to date by a landslide, spending 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and earned a Grammy for best pop solo performance.
“[Jay] usually gets things right,” the “Photograph” singer added in his interview. “It was a very natural, respectful pass.”
The Jay-Z revelation is one of several outtakes published Tuesday (March 28) from Sheeran’s Rolling Stone cover story, which published last week. It’s also been newly revealed by the publication that the singer-songwriter has been working with Netflix for two years on a new animated musical, for which he’s written “loads of songs,” and has high hopes for the future of his 2019 collaboration with Bruno Mars and Chris Stapleton, “Blow.”
“I feel like when people saw Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, they were like, ‘Oh, that’ll sound a [certain way],'” he said of the rock song, which was met with comparatively mild reception upon its release. “It was so not that. At some point, someone will come across it, and it will be put in a superhero movie or something.”