Ed Sheeran revealed that Jay-Z turned down the opportunity to have a guest verse on his 2017 smash hit Shape Of You, a song that eventually topped the charts in 34 countries. Sheeran had sent the song to Jay-Z, who respectfully declined, stating that the song did not need a rap verse, Sheeran tells Rolling Stone in a recent interview. Sheeran acknowledged that Jay-Z has a good ear for music and is usually right about such decisions.
Ironically, around the same time, Ed Sheeran collaborated with Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé, on a remix of “Perfect,” which turned out to be a huge success. Pop stars often strive to feature a duo of Carter features on their albums, and Sheeran was no exception.
In 2019, Jay-Z expressed his eagerness to hop on a different Sheeran track, “Take Me Back To London,” which appeared on his No.6 Collaborations Project. But that time, it was Stormzy who shut down Jay-Z’s offer, telling him that “this is not the song.”
“Shape of You” was a massive success for Sheeran, earning him his first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the second most-streamed song in Spotify history, with over 3.4 billion plays. The song was also certified diamond by the RIAA in January 2019, which would have marked Jay-Z’s first-ever diamond plaque had he agreed to the feature.
Jay-Z is no stranger to appearing as a featured guest on huge pop songs, but it seems like he missed out on a potentially massive hit with “Shape of You.” However, it’s clear that both Jay-Z and Sheeran have a great deal of respect for each other’s work and musical instincts.