Elephant Man is speaking on rumors for the first time that he had an altercation with Diddy back in 2007 when he allegedly punched the Bad Boy rap mogul in the face.
The dancehall legend recently sat down with The Fix, where he spoke about his career in dancehall business for more than 20 years, having started as a member of the Scare Dem Crew before going solo. One of the highlights from the interview is the infamous incident that was reported in 2007, which claimed that Elephant Man and Puff Daddy, now known as Diddy or Love, got into an argument that became physical.
The “Pon Di River” artist is speaking publicly about that incident which he denies. “Yeah, one album deal, yeah when them a talk bout me and Puffy fight and me thump down the poor- me? Weh mi ago thump down puffy fah? When me desso a take dancehall to a level and me just a work and me just a do weh me want do?”
According to Elephant Man, he had a good relationship with Diddy, who signed him to his New York-based label Bad Boy Records, which led to his debut album ‘Let’s Get Physical’ released on 6 November 2007. The first single on the album is “Five-O” and features Wyclef Jean and Diddy. The album was later Grammy-nominated and was also the first Grammy nomination for Diddy at the time, Elephant man says.
According to the Jamaican ‘Energy Gad’, Diddy had sought him out after hearing about his reputation as an artist. Back then, Elephant Man’s stage presence was unrivaled due to his dancing-type songs.
“Me, Sean Paul and Junior Gong deh backstage at 97 Reggae [with] Kiprich. When me look me see Puffy and Chris Tucker weh come in the Karate show…two a dem come in and say ‘I’m here for you’. Me say: ‘yea man yah watch the show, ah the baddest show’. [Diddy says] ‘eh eh I’m here for you’…weh the man say? ‘Mi come fi sign you'” he says.
In 2007, rumors started circulating that Elephant Man and his entourage barged into Bad Boy Records headquarters and roughed up Diddy over money owed to the deejay. Some reports say that Diddy was seen with his glasses bent up and had a busted lip while Elephant Man was cursing and swearing about wanting his money from Diddy.
Diddy spoke on the rumors in 2007 while speaking with MTV off the track, saying that he and Elephant Man are good and his house is in good order.
Elsewhere in his interview, Elephant also gave some artists their flowers while sharing some of his experiences meeting Janet Jackson and Chris Brown as well as working with artists like Rihanna.
“Memba a me say memba good memba a me dem sen fi buss Rihanna,” Elephant Man said. “When Rihanna do back ‘Pon Di Riva’, ‘run run run run everybody gi dem a run’, and Jay-Z said ‘Ele we need you’… and then me and her do Umbrella Remix again, my second number one in Africa.”
Elephant Man also touched on how the song “Switch” by Will Smith came to life as his career took off as a Jamaican artist to now a mainstream artist in the United States.
“I was like me a board the airplane and dem hold on pan mi ticket and say ‘you can’t go’. You see da private jet deh, Will Smith inna it and him say you fi fawud now. Boom, me, him and Jada [Pinkett-Smith],” he said.
“When me go inna the jet, Jada go ‘Oh! Ele, mi favorite artist’, me say ‘woah’ so the work a put in and dem a see it,” he added.
Elephant Man on how Ninjaman and Super Cat influence his career
He also touched on the state of music nowadays, which he says, in his opinion, many fail to pay respects to the others in the genre. Elephant recalled many of his experiences with other artists who were simultaneously working to make dancehall into a big genre across the world. He shared respect for Ninjaman, Super Cat, and others, something he says is absent from the younger artists nowadays.
“When we now ago tell you say Ninjaman is my Gad in music, Shabba Ranks is my Gad in music, Super Cat dem, Buju, Killer dem, how can I not tell them?… Nowadays, nuh respect nuh too deh inna the thing. A man would even respect you and nuh even tell you,” he said.
“When last you see an artist post another artist? A bare war and so,” Elephant Man said.
Elephant Man had much to say about the latest viral type of music most artists chase as he spoke about the longevity of his songs like “Gully Creeper,” which still has the same effect on people almost 15 years since it was released.
“Sometimes some music affi (sic) some place, everybody just a do dem own thing. And it’s good to be commercial but it good to still make some music weh make sense and we still have to remember there is Hot 97 and there is a playlist and still member say we need songs to cross and we want go fi some Billboard and some things,” Elephant Man added.