September 27, 2023

Elephant Man, dancehall’s Bad Boy

article reposted by Chelsea


Bad Boy Records, the label founded in 1993 by Sean “Puffy” Combs, turned 30 years-old this year. It scored major success on pop charts with acts including The Notorious BIG, Faith Evans, Craig Mack, Yung Joc, Mase, 112, Total, Shyne, The LOX, Carl Thomas, and Cassie.

Elephant Man was with the label from 2006 to 2009.

In a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer, he recalled that stint with one of the most influential companies in contemporary music.

“My time with Bad Boy was very beneficial to my career. It was tremendous. My album for di label [Let’s Get Physical] was di only album nominated for a Grammy Award dat year for di label. I felt good about it; big up Puffy, big up Bad Boy,” he said.

The deejay also reflected on his initial meeting with Combs in 2005.

“Puffy came to the Hot 97 Reggae On The Tip concert and we were backstage, [with] Sean Paul and Jr Gong. Puffy came to our tent, an’ when he saw me, he said, ‘Elephant Man, I am here to sign you. My team at Bad Boy has been telling me a lot about you,” Elephant Man disclosed.

He added that Puffy had seen him perform on tour in 2004 with Usher at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Released in 2008, Let’s Get Physical debuted at #2 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart and #38 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Its sole chart hit was Five-O, featuring Wyclef Jean, which peaked at #87 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Rihanna, Chris Brown, Mario Winans, Busta Rhymes, Shaggy, and Kat Deluna appear on Let’s Get Physical, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album in 2009.

Recently, it was announced that Combs (now known as Diddy) was re-assigning his Bad Boy publishing rights to the label’s artistes and songwriters. Elephant Man said he is not affected by this move.

“My publishing was not in any dilemma. I already had a heads-up and got my business in order and had things sorted out from early,” he disclosed.

Elephant Man emerged on the scene in the mid-1990s as a member of the Scare Dem Crew. Going solo, he racked up chart-topping hit songs, including Log On, Blase’, Dip Again, Father Elephant, and Pon Di River, Pon Di Bank.

The latter, which peaked at #86 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, turns 20 this year. It gave Elephant Man his first crossover hit in America.

He said the idea to record the song — which is based on a popular dance by John Hype — came from popular sound system selector Fire Links.

“I was at Hot Mondays and Fire Links was playing some songs dat were mashing up di place. He was instructing di people to do di Pon Di River dance dat John Hype had created. He came to me later and said he wanted me to do a song about di dance. At first, I was going to record it on di Orgasm rhythm, but I called Don Corleon (producer Donovan Bennett) and asked him to play di drum pattern, and then I asked Leftside to play di phrase on it. Alaine was di one who did di harmonies on di track,” Elephant Man revealed.

Pon Di River, Pon Di Bank was released on the Q45 label and became an instant hit in Jamaica. When the song got popular on urban radio in America, ultimately making the pop and R&B charts, his career went to ‘another level’.

“It changed my life a lot. It was #2 on BET 106 And Park countdown, and then Mariah Carey did her countdown and she said di song is her #1 song. Di song had America in a frenzy, even as far as in Europe, England and Africa. All of dis was jus’ a part of di blessing dat Father God gave me, and I have to give thanks. Big up to Fire Links who came to me and suggested that I record the song,” said Elephant Man.

Pon Di River, Pon Di Bank earned him the Source Award for Dancehall Artiste of The Year. He was also nominated for MTV Video Music Award and a BET Award.

Last year, Elephant Man’s seven-song EP, Di Best, was released by Hapilos.

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