Music » Music Stories

Elephant Man

Good 2 Go (VP/Atlantic)

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Hip-hop radio keeps finding weirder ways to get ur freak on. Thanks to the recent crossover success of Jamaican dancehallers Sean Paul and Wayne Wonder, Elephant Man -- a bleached dreadlocker with a penchant for nonsense syllables and homemade dances -- has taken up residence on stateside airwaves with the exuberant "Pon de River Pon de Bank." Like his predecessors, Elephant (one-time large-eared child O'Neil Bryan) comes to the United States via VP Records, which obviously wants another crossover smash. Still, while Good 2 Go is Ele's first to feature U.S. rap stars, the songs don't reek of chart lust. Of the collaborations only Jimmy Cozier's track sounds out of place, and that's mainly because the soul man seems to be singing at 33 rpm to Elephant's 45.

Whereas Ele's past CDs featured references to bling and violence, his fourth album focuses on freewheeling fun. Not that you can really tell specifics from the lyrics, as Elephant spurts his lines more than sings them, switching between Jamaican patois and made-up words (choruses, thankfully, are in well-enunciated English). Even so, you can usually understand the, um, thrust of the tunes: "Cock Up Your Bumper," for instance, doesn't seem to be about traffic accidents caused by roosters. Certainly, Elephant is far ruder than his hit-making peers, singing about sex with obvious glee (and with a pronounced lisp, which makes the frequently referenced "pussy" sound like the even-sexier "poothy").

In the end, though, it's the dancehaller's music that propels the tunes, with sitar samples, steel drums and synth blurps coiling around spasmodic electronic riddims. Most of Good 2 Go -- including body-shakers like "Signal de Plane" and "Head Gone/Wine up Uh Self" -- is cockeyed and euphoric, offering uninhibited dance music that makes the rest of rap radio sound downright tired.

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