You will feel the highlife vibe in our songs, HYPA
Like Peter and Paul of P-Square fame, HYPA is a group made up of two brothers. Born of the same parents and christened Ekemode Rasheed Enitan (Ray) and Ekemode Ganiu Omobolaji (Jay), their sojourn into the world music started at the age of Nine and Seven respectively. They became so passionate about music that they starting recording songs on demo cassette players. With mother luck smile on them, they began to perform at musical shows and carnivals around their Bariga area of Lagos, where they grew up. Their dream of going professional with their music was put on hold following their parents’ decision that must finish school first. Now graduates of Lagos State University, their quest to break into the industry got them working with producers like Puffy T, Mystro, and DJ Klem.
Influenced by the works of Ebenezer Obey, King Sunny Ade and Sir Shina Peters, little wonder their music genre is contemporary highlife. Their single titled, Alert, which is currently enjoying airplay in TV and radio stations is a dance track that sets the tone for the clubs and parties. Cinematographer, Unlimited L.A, directed the music video for the song. Currently signed to Dreams Records, the duo believes their dream of becoming mega stars is falling into place as they share in this interview, how their brand of music will help in contributing to the growth of the music industry with songs that appeal to music lovers.
What does the name HYPA connote and what informed your choice of it as your stage name?
HYPA means ‘Positive Attitude’ and the name was given to us by our friends back then in our hood in Ladi-Lak, Bariga Lagos, where the music hustle started. We were called that name due to our aggressive attitude to the things we did, from sports to academics and some other things. So, when we wanted to officially start our music career, it wasn’t really hard for us to pick a name; we just decided to build a brand around that name HYPA from our stage performances.
What genre of music do you play?
We major basically on highlife genre, however, if we listen to a good beat, we can sing on it. We bounce on any good beat. We are trying to expand our fan base because there are people who listen to jazz, RnB, Pop, Reggae, Ragga and all. We want to reach out to everyone of them, so don’t be surprised if you listen to a jazz sound and its from HYPA, but definitely you would feel the highlife vibe in every of our song, that’s our originality.
For some artistes, music is inborn; how long have you been doing music?
Music for us has been in us since we were kids; funny enough we recorded on cassette players as kids. We wake up every morning to listen to great legends like Sir Shina Peters, Chief Ebenezer Obey, and our uncle Chief Orlando Julius Ekemode, who was a great inspiration for us. After secondary school, before we gained admission to the university, we decided to go to the studio and start making professional music; we started basically as studio rats before we got the opportunity to record our own songs. So, we can say we have been doing music together since we were kids.
You have a new single Alert, what informed the choice of the title?
‘Alert’…who no like alert? Everyone does; the song itself talks about the day to day hustles and at the end we all want a pay…Mosope pe mori alert, ope l’ope oyinbo. The day we recorded that song we were very hungry in the studio, very hungry and we were five guys…both us, our producer (Badmanbeatz), the DJ (DJ Exdot), and a friend. There was no light and we wanted to record, we called a very good friend of ours who was a working class to send help for our condition, which he promised he would do. We waited till 4pm, we didn’t get any response from him; we called several times, he wasn’t picking up, our phones went off owing flat battery. So, we gave up; suddenly, power was restored around 6pm, as I (Ray) plugged my phone to charge I heard a beep and behold it was an alert…I shouted na alert ooo. It was three thousand naira, you need to see how happy everyone was. It was in the euphoria that the DJ (Exdot) shouted ‘Ope l’ope Oyinbo’ and we chorused “Mo s’ope pe mori alert.” That was where the vibe started from, the beat was already there and we created a song from that experience and that is Alert!
What inspired the message of the song and who is it targeted at?
Our experience in the studio, which we talked about earlier, inspired the message and the song is for everyone. We believe that everybody is expecting ‘alert’, particularly during this yuletide season, no matter how rich you are. So the song is for everyone, most especially the hustlers.
The sound is highlife with a fusion of old and new school vibes; so, we can confidently say that it is targeting both the young and the old. To every hustler out there trying to elk a living, irrespective of the current economic downturn…alert go enter and your life go be beta.