NEW YORK — How hot was radio station Hot 97’s On the Reggae Tip concert Thursday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom? Just ask the fan who fainted.
The sold-out concert boasted a lineup that included Wayne Wonder, Bounty Killer, T.O.K., Sasha, Tonto Metro & Devante and of course Elephant Man. Bobby Konders of Massive B pumped the riddims between performances, while celebrities like Mister Cee, DJ Enuff, Benny Boom, Little X, and Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz populated the audience.
Donning a thin black suit, his trademark black skullcap and dark glasses, Bounty Killer sent the ballroom into convulsions with his mere presence. Opening with an instrumental Diplomats/ Bone Crusher medley, he demonstrated Jamaican chatting at its best. Flailing hands waved lighters and Jamaican flags while chanting Bounty classics like “Can’t Believe Mi Eyes.” Removing his sunglasses, Bounty forced the crowd to look into his eyes and made fans jump when his feet left the ground. After “Living Dangerously,” he deserted the stage, leaving a panting ballroom and a fainted fan.
Following a visit from the paramedics and a remix of R. Kelly’s “Ignition” that talked about more smoking than a forest fire, the show’s master of ceremonies ambushed the audience. “I have some good news and some bad news! Which do you want to hear first?” bellowed the MC. As fans frantically looked back and forth at one another, the possibility that Elephant Man might not show crossed everyone’s mind. “I know at least one person fainted, but there’s about to be a whole lot more people fainting in a minute!”
Hitting the stage in a Hideki Matsui baseball jersey and cap and carrying a bat, Elephant Man caused the roaring fans to lose their minds. After a ragga rendition of “Joy to the World” led to “Log On,” Ele made an effort to maintain his connection with audience by asking stage security to move aside so he could get closer to the crowd. Hopping on a speaker, he cut the house lights and pulled out an air-traffic-controller vest complete with two glowing batons. Instructing everyone to pull out their cell phones, he turned the Hammerstein into a black sea filled with swaying lights. People in balcony seats were afraid to sit for fear that Elephant Man might chastise them from the stage.
And that he did. Feeling the audience needed to personally feel him, Elephant Man jumped from the stage and ran through the crowd, forcing everyone to “Pon De River.” Once he was back on the stage, he pulled Lil Jon from the audience and the two performed a reggae remix of “Get Low.” The King of Crunk and Elephant Man directed hundreds of raised hands to the window and to the wall while looking for two well-endowed ladies.
“Where da fat girls? Gimme some fat girls!” shouted Elephant Man, whose trademark is heavy lifting. Drawing two healthy ladies from the audience — one for Lil Jon and one for himself — Ele told Jon that he’d take the “fat fat” one. With the ladies assuming the position of face down and other parts up, the Jon and Ele wheelbarrowed them into submission. When Elephant Man picked up his girl and bulldozed her through the crowded stage, Lil Jon bowed out, choosing to preserve his back.
Finally, after erecting signs pleading to save the children and stop the violence, Elephant Man performed heart-wrenchingly humorous rendition of “We are the World” to a singing-along audience. See what you miss if you faint?
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