by Dru Hepkins
Since the Shabba Ranks explosion in the late 80’s and early 90’s, every so often, a “colorful” new Dance Hall king comes forth and captures our attention at the top. With a plethora of steady hits, the electrifying performer, Elephant Man, has thrown his weight in the dance hall scene and his presence is felt internationally. Signed to Bad Boy, Elephant Man intends to continuously mash up the scene with his new album “Let’s Get Physical” in stores August 14th.
MVRemix: Ele, watta g’wan?
Elephant Man: What’s poppin’ Dru?
MVRemix: I’m good, I’m good. I’m also from yard so first tell us which part a yard you come from?
Elephant Man: Okay, okay. I’m from Kingston – you know Sea view Garden?
MVRemix: Ya man. When did you first realize you wanted to be a performer and what avenues did you take to get there?
Elephant Man: Well I realize I wanted to be a performer when I was a kid. I didn’t do no more work than entertainment because…I just woke up one dayâ€¦â€¦you know Shabba Ranks lived just a couple of gates down from my gate, and we looked up to Shabba like that – you know? Then at like 14 or 15 I was like yo – this is what I want to do.
MVRemix: Of all the hits you have like “Dutty wine” to “Bad Mon Forward” – which is your personal favorite?
Elephant Man: “Pon de River”. That’s the one that started everything you know man? In America, Jamaica – all over. That’s the one that brought back the Dance Hall you know?
MVRemix: In the hip hop world, you always hear about beef between artists; Do you see beef or similar drama between Dance Hall artists?
Elephant Man: Yeah, they got beef with each other in the Dance Hall – but the beef is not for me man. I just do music to make people enjoy it you know? It’s not like you’re going to get a house or a platinum record or a Grammy from the beef so it don’t make sense. It only bring death, and violence and bad vibes you feel me?
MVRemix: You mentioned, and I read of your being neighbors with Shabba. Describe how he was a hero to you.
Elephant Man: Growing up in the ghetto, Shabba Ranks was the first big star we know. He always gave back to the people and you know – take care of the people in the community.
MVRemix: And how did he do that?
Elephant Man: You see when he would come back from the US, he gave away money and all of that.
MVRemix: Now describe your union with Mr. Sean Combs and your adjustment to the Bad Boy family.
Elephant Man: Well you see Puffy, that’s my friend from a longer time you know? And right now – we bad boys so anything goes. But we cool and everybody understand each other – and Puffy know that he signed a Dance Hall artist not a hip hop artist so you know…
MVRemix: Do you take any pride or accomplishment in being the first Dance Hall artist he signed?
Elephant Man: Of course you got to take pride and know that Puffy got into Dance Hall [with me] and that was a big move. You just got to give thanks and – you don’ know – just represent to the fullest.
MVRemix: In creating songs, what’s your motivation and what are you aiming to achieve in each record?
Elephant Man: I talk about positive things and I talk about reality you know. It got to mean something.
MVRemix: How do you usually compose a song? Are you directly involved with the beat making?
Elephant Man: I’m involved with the beat making a lot because like last night we were in the studio and I ask them to get me someone who play the piano and we do songs together and I tell them put that there, don’t put that – you know? We give 100 percent. That’s why when we do songs it that good because the people around you are good and you are good at what you do. It’s not like they just say come DJ this and you get up and just DJ – you put it how you want it. When everybody put them idea together now – that’s when – boom.
MVRemix: What do you prefer as an artist; do you prefer the process of creating new songs or do you prefer to perform?
Elephant Man: I like to create new songs and I like to perform. Without creating new songs you can’t perform.
MVRemix: So you like them equally?
Elephant Man: Equal. 1 on 1.
MVRemix: In the Dance Hall scene, who is doing it right now for you besides yourself?
Elephant Man: You got Sean Paul, Beanie Man, Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Sizzla…
MVRemix: Has there ever been a rough patch in your career that really slowed you down considerably.
Elephant Man: Yeah – when they were spreading rumor on me.
MVRemix: Rumors like what?
Elephant Man: A lot of rumors. You know people spread rumors like wow. But God run the world so you just have to overcome the evil you know?
MVRemix: Did you ever imagine yourself to be as big as you are now?
Elephant Man: No. But I know I’m a hard worker and I knew it would pay off though. And everything I do I do it from my heart and not for the money because I love to do it you know?
MVRemix: Very refreshing to hear nowadays.
Elephant Man: Yeah man.
MVRemix: Everyone associates Jamaicans with Rastafarianism. What are your beliefs?
Elephant Man: Well, I’m into the Jesus side of it you know? I’m not a Rastafarian but [Halle] Salassie was a great king, but my God is Jesus; the Creator who made heaven and earth and the One who send Jesus to die for everybody sin.
MVRemix: So you’re Christian?
Elephant Man: Well, I’m not a Christian but you know – I go with the Bible. I can’t tell you that Salassie is God or not but I believe my God is the King.
MVRemix: What was one of your most unusual or craziest nights in showbiz?
Elephant Man: In New York at the Reggae Caravan in 2004, I was performing on stage in the stadium. Right as I was singing “Signal de plane”, plane flew directly over the stadium. Crazy man.
MVRemix: What’s your opinion about Reggaeton? Is it flattery? Does it help or hurt Reggae; does it steal some of its thunder – what opinion to do you have?
Elephant Man: Well – their doing their own thing. They ain’t stealing nothing from Reggae. Their doing their own thing – it’s a different language, it’s a different marketing, a different everything. No disrespect to them.
MVRemix: Anything you want to promote or want people to know?
Elephant Man: Well the album “Let’s Get Physical” coming out on August 14th.
MVRemix: Anything else?
Elephant Man: Love God and live man.