Skip to navigationSkip to content
The band TLC accepting an award.
Reuters/Rose Prouser
Ed Sheeran was no scrub in 2017.
THE SHAPE OF 2017

The songwriters of TLC’s “No Scrubs” now have a credit on 2017’s monster hit, “Shape of You”

Dan Kopf
By Dan Kopf

Data editor

Ed Sheeran won 2017, and he did it with one song.

Sheeran’s ”Shape of You,” which he wrote while playing with Legos, was by far the biggest song of the year, and is on its way to becoming one of the most popular songs ever. The song spent 33 weeks in the Billboard top 10, has nearly 3 billion streams on YouTube, and  is already the all-time most streamed song on Spotify globally.

The song was written by Sheeran, his regular writing partner Johnny McDaid, and the record producer Steve Ma. Though they were not directly involved in the song’s creation, three other musicians, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, and Kevin Briggs, were also given a songwriting credit.

Why? They are the writers of TLC’s classic rebuke to worthless men “No Scrubs.” In the months after the release of “Shape Of You,” a number of listeners noticed the song’s resemblance to “No Scrubs,” and in March, Sheeran gave Burrus, Cottle, and Briggs a songwriting credit. This is a financial windfall for the originally uncredited musicians, as they now receive payment for performances, streams and downloads of the song (exactly how much they have received is not public).

Sheeran discussed how “No Scrubs” influenced his songwriting in a New York Times video examining the song’s creation. You can clearly hear the relationship between the two songs in the video put together by the website Genius.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief, our morning email with news and insights you need to understand our changing world.