The Real Reason Jay-Z Turned Down Ed Sheeran’s "Shape Of You" Feature Offer

The hit song could have sounded a lot different.

Jay-Z and Ed Sheeran at a music event in Los Angeles, California
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage/Getty Images

Ed Sheeran has collaborated with countless big names over the years — Beyoncé, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Camila Cabello, and the list goes on. But it turns out the 32-year-old singer had a huge celebrity feature in mind for his best selling song “Shape Of You” as well. In a recent cover interview with Rolling Stone, Sheeran revealed that he reached out to Jay-Z for a rap feature in the song. “We were in touch. 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,” Sheeran said about the exchange.

Released with “Castle On The Hill” as part of his 2017 album Divide, “Shape of You” went on to top the Billboard 100 for 12 non-consecutive weeks. That’s not all, the song also earned Sheeran a Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance. Back in July 2022, Jay-Z also spoke about how he selects guest features while in conversation with Kevin Hart on his show Hart To Heart. The 53-year-old rapper shared: “Pretty much every song that I’m on, I’m asked to be on. I don’t ask people to be on their songs.” He also added, “Sometimes it slips through the cracks. Sometimes I want to do it, and my life is in a certain place, and I’m moving and I can’t do it. But I typically try to be straight up with people.”

Opening up in his Rolling Stone interview, Sheeran also discussed an animated musical he’s working on with Disney for which he has written several songs over the last two years. “I got pitched on it and got super excited about it. And then wrote loads of songs,” he said. All this along with Sheeran’s upcoming album “-“ (pronounced Subtract) that releases on May 5 and Disney+ docu-series, The Sum Of It All that comes out right before on May 3. The singer is also on your through March and April across the UK and Europe so clearly, he has a huge year ahead of him.