It’s the Year of the Elephant, and the irrepressible Elephant Man prepares to unleash his VP Records debut, “Good 2 Go” on the masses. With his catchy “Pon de River, Pon de Bank” single heating up the airwaves of urban radio, Elephant Man is well poised to take dancehall to another level. Dubbed the ‘Energy God’ for his high-spirited stage shows, he plans on running the dancehall charts with the “Good to Go” set, which includes hot new rhythms and Elephant Man’s unique vocabulary.
From an early age, O’neal Bryan knew he was destined to be an entertainer and credits fellow artist and friend Bounty Killer for helping launch his career. Bounty took under his wing a crew of his neighborhood friends named the Scare Dem Crew, coming out of Seaview Gardens, Kingston Jamaica. Scare Dem consisted of the artist now known as Elephant Man, Boom Dandimite, Harry Toddler and Nitty Kutchie and they were a four man wrecking crew in the dancehall arena.
“I used to hang out at King Jammy’s with Bounty Killer and the rest of Scare Dem,” Elephant said. “And it grew from there to working with Steely and Clevie.”
Although they released one album and made a solid name for themselves, things didn’t work out for Scare Dem. Elephant Man, however, was determined to succeed and embarked on his solo career. For the past few years, ‘Ele’ has topped the Jamaican charts and easily has been one of the wildest and most popular artists in the Caribbean. With songs like “Log on,” “Higher Level,” and “Signal di Plane,” the charismatic sound and style of Elephant Man is clearly evident, as is his goal to keep the fans dancing.
Currently, the busy Elephant Man has wrapped up recording tracks with R&B sensation Mariah Carey and hip-hopper Da Brat for Mariah’s upcoming album. Making further forays into urban music, Elephant also appears on Lil’ Jon’s “Get Low” remix with rapper Busta Rhymes.
That’s all part and parcel for Elephant Man. Always trying new flavors, new approaches. So much so, he has taken that approach of offering a myriad of styles to “Good to Go.” Elephant looks to capitalize off early-career success with a set that includes hot dancehall beats, catchy melodies and rapid-fire lyrics. There’s the exceptional “Mexican Girl” cut, and the album is full of collaborative ‘niceness’ also.
“On ‘Mexican Girl,’ I am signing in Spanish and explaining it back in English, which is very, very hard,” the effervescent dancehall master said. “I just want to step up my game, come up with something different, some new words.”
Elephant Man has enlisted a crew of his own to assist in his latest urban airwave blitz. “I have Rayvon, Lil Jon, Bone Crusher, Jimmy Cosier, and Killah Priest, ” Elephant said. “Yes, there are a few collaborations.”
But what really fuels Elephant Man? Is it the touring, the love he receives from the islands, stateside and international masses, or does it lie in the joy of just making smash hits? For Elephant, it’s a mixture off all these elements, seasoned with a healthy amount of self-respect and peer-to-peer support.
“I wish for more unity among the artists. Everyone is arguing, and that’s the problem,” Elephant Man said. “I want to change that through song and action, as do the other artists.”
Make no mistake, Elephant is prepared to storm radio, television and international shores with his infectious lyrics and boundless energy. In fact, Elephant is looking to capitalize on early-career efforts by parlaying it into his VP Records-powered debut. Featured in MTV’s upcoming “Advance Warning” program, Elephant Man is recognized by many to be dancehall’s rising star for the year to come. With a hit single and new video in tow, Ele plans to keep the massive dancing ‘pon the river, pon the bank’ and anywhere else he can get them to.