Elephant Man: Ready 4 U.S. Success

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

VP Records and Atlantic Records are looking to repeat the mainstream success of dancehall reggae acts Sean Paul and Wayne Wonder with their partnership on Elephant Man's "Good 2 Go." Due Dec. 2, the album serves as the dancehall veteran's full-length debut.

"The momentum of Elephant Man has been riding so strong for months," Atlantic Records co-president Craig Kallman says. "He's been building so formidably in Jamaica for so long.

Elephant Man owes much of his recent success to the album's lead single, "Pon De River, Pon De Bank." Since it debuted on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart in May, the single has steadily climbed and recently reached its peak at No. 29.

"I knew it would take off because I put my all into it," Elephant Man says. "I made sure that it was an exclusive -- I didn't waste it on a riddim that everybody was going to be on. I didn't know it would reach this far, but I knew that it would break, because the song is one that anyone could catch on to."

While VP began working on the record as an independent project, Atlantic was quick to come aboard. "Our mission with VP is to continue to gain a greater foothold for dancehall in the widest sense with as many diverse artists and styles as possible," Kallman says. "We want to really embed the entire culture and musical movement into the global mainstream consciousness.

With their combined, proven track record, the labels are focused on repeating that success with "Good 2 Go."

"We plan on building on the different strengths of Elephant Man," VP Records VP of marketing Randy Chin says. "We're really figuring out ways to take his live show -- that he is so known for -- to a mass audience. His energy and charisma is amazing because it comes across so well both onstage and onscreen. Our goal is to get him in front of the camera. If people see him, there is no denying that this guy is a star."

If you ask his fellow artists, Elephant Man already is. With guest appearances on upcoming projects by Mariah Carey and Missy Elliott, among others, he has already made a name for himself in industry circles.

Excerpted from the Nov. 22, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.

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