Adorned with jewellery and sporting a black dress shirt, a matching vest, jeans shorts, black-and-white sneakers, and a pair of sunglasses, dancehall star Elephant Man oozed the kind of pride that screamed, “This is where I live” as the gates to his 12,000 square-foot mansion opened.
‘Shizzle’ , a phrase made popular by the ‘Energy God’, is his parting word when he ends a phone call and is also the name of one his pitbulls; the other is called Mummy. Ele’s appreciation for animals showed itself as a variety of rabbits and birds and even an in-house aquarium accentuated the space.
“This is my dream home,” he told THE WEEKEND STAR as he looked over at the city from his poolside in the hills of Havendale, St Andrew.
Deep within was the Rousseau Primary School kid who would beat his chest and compose lyrics with his friends ‘Peenie Wallie’ and ‘Jungle Rat’ by the communal skip in the inner-city community of Seaview Gardens.
Back then, the young Oneil Bryan, whenever he took the garbage out, would sit on pan and dream of making it big like Shabba Ranks, who lived two houses away from his unit in Phase One.
“Growing up in Seaview was like a sidewalk university; it mek yuh learn a lot. You grow up ’round all of the badness, and the first test you get is yuh haffi can hold out, don’t mek that draw yuh out,” he said.
TAKING CARE OF MOMMY
“Me always have that one thing in my head, that lady named Miss Evans (his mother). Mi haffi tek care of her. Me have sisters, too, and mi cya mek no man come use dem and abuse dem. Me always a pray to God fi mek me can help me family ’cause me see weh dem a go through.”
Raised by his mother and grandmother, ‘Miss Daphne’, Ele was always eager to leave school and record music with friends, and he eventually started frequenting King Jammy’s studio in the neighbouring Waterhouse community, where Bounty Killer, a rising Seaview deejay would discover his talent and encourage him to form a group, which would later become Scare Dem Crew.
With the group later embarking on solo careers, Ele built a three-storey home in his community and rose to prominence in the early 2000s with tracks like Log On, Online and the international smash Pon De River, Pon De Bank.
As his success grew, he moved from the area and bought homes for his family while moving into the 20-bedroom dream which was on display in the 2009 ‘Jamaican cribs’ video powered by VP Records. Once as colourful as his hair, the residence is now subdued in burgundy and cream and has more CranWata than Hennessey bottles, which he attributed to maturity.
“When me just build me house, me did give it some wild colour: green, orange … Remember, me nuh really. know bout house, me just know seh we a youth weh come from the garrison and deh pon top of the hill,” he said.
“Some people are all about money. The man weh design the house nah direct me the real way; him nah seh, ‘Ele, mek we go some real people house, house weh turn on the ladies, house weh mek people just waan come’. Me have attractions, but the colour did just, ugh. Me start travel, and when me look round pon the house dem pon the hill, me a seh, ‘You know me do one eediat job wid painting pon mi house.’
“Knowledge a di key, the more you travel, the more you learn, you experience certain things … More time, music have we a way, so the house did stay so for couple years until me seh a time fi let certain things go.”
His home features a bar, a jacuzzi, a waterfall, and an outdoor kitchen. A nightclub adjacent to the pool area is currently being renovated.