Ed Sheeran has revealed Jay-Z turned him down when he asked the rapper to contribute a guest verse to his hit song, Shape Of You.
In his cover interview with Rolling Stone, released Tuesday March 28, the 32-year-old singer–songwriter shared that he originally tried to enlist the 53-year-old rap legend to record a verse on the song, only to be turned down by Jay-Z.
According to Sheeran, Jay-Z didn’t ‘think the song need[ed] a rap verse.’
The rapper’s judgment seems to have been on the mark, as Shape Of You has gone on to become Sheeran’s most popular tune to date since it was released in 2017 as a single from his Divide album.
‘We were in touch,’ Sheeran recalled in the new interview. ‘I sent [Jay-Z] 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. [Jay-Z] usually gets things right,’ Sheeran added. ‘It was a very natural, respectful pass.’
The song, which was released alongside the other Divide single Castle On The Hill, spent 12 non-consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and it was later certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of Ameria (RIAA), indicating sales and streaming of at leas 10 million units.
Shape Of You has also gone on to become one of the most-streamed songs of all time on Spotify.
Sheeran was later honored with the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance for the recording.