Ed Sheeran Reached Out To Jay-Z For A Guest Verse On ‘Shape Of You,’ But He Gave It A ‘Respectful’ Pass

It’s no secret that one of Ed Sheeran‘s biggest hits was initially written for Rihanna. But after his label convinced him to keep “Shape Of You” for himself, Sheeran workshopped the song until it was perfect.

In an article for Rolling Stone, which featured outtakes from an extensive profile that was published earlier this month, Sheeran shared that he wanted Jay-Z to add a verse to “Shape Of You.”

“We were in touch,” says Sheeran. “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.”

And indeed, Jay did get it right, as “Shape Of You” sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks in 2017.

Sheeran is gearing up to release his fifth studio album, . Last week, he shared the album’s lead single, “Eyes Closed,” a song inspired by grief and loss. Yesterday, he shared a stripped-back version of the song, featuring himself joined by an orchestra, along with Aaron Dessner, who produced on piano.

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Ed Sheeran is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.