Around 2013 hip-hop artist Barry One did a song Trendsetters in which he featured fellow rapper Hyphen alongside local dancehall linchpin Blak Jak.
The song, with its boastful concept, was a platform which the three urban artists used to throw contempt at their perceived detractors.
They talked tough, displaying all the macho and boasting about how good they are owing to the long years that they had been in the music game.
As they switched the microphone, each in his verse made his best effort to drive the point home that he indeed deserves a spot in the rap game since he is a trendsetter.
Out of the trio, the battle was probably more personal for Hyphen judging by the content in his lines.
He sang in Trendsetters: I played in the backgroun kwazakazaka/Mphekesera pokopoko/ Akuti mfana anatha/ Anali shasha/ Album yake yoyamba/ Ndimangolafa. Kani mumanditsata makape/ I am doing fine in a car/ Mellow off that high grade/Getting money/ Killing beats/ Proving that crime pays.
Top of the totem pole/ Sangatikankhe/ These kids reciting whatever I say/ UFO flow man/ This is still a myth to them/ Razor sharp tongue/ Baba look what I did to them/My heart and my soul/ Is what I try to give to them/ The way I rap/ These kids should have known/ I am a gift to them/…
To many, these lines were a direct response to the notion that had filled the grapevine and social media spaces elsewhere. The suggestion was that the soft-spoken artist was over the hill as he was failing to replicate the standards he had set in his debut album, First Impression.
In an interview with Society the artist said he tries not to pay too much attention to what people think he should be doing because in the end everyone has to take responsibility for their own life and be comfortable with the decisions they make.
“Not to say that I do not listen completely. That is what has kept me knowing that people want me to put out new material,” he said.
Hyphen, real name Francis Kaphuka, took the local hip-hop scene by storm when he arrived with his highly-sought-after debut album a decade ago. Then, trading as Young Kay, the young rapper dazzled with his flawless bars during a period in which urban music had not found a safe nest in the local music spheres.
What followed was inexplicable hibernation which has lasted until now. Apart from countless collaborations with fellow artists which he said he has even lost count and countable singles, Hyphen is yet to release a follow-up to First Impression.
Hyphen said: “Well, you would indeed say I have been silent. But in real sense maybe not very silent. I have been involved in other projects with other artists. Personally, I have been doing some other things outside music as I have been trying to build some businesses.”
But maybe the long wait for a new album that his fans have had to endure with is about to come to an end, if his word is to be taken for it. The artist has released a single A Rozi, which he has indicated is part of his soon-to-be-released second album.
Hyphen has pleaded with his fans to exercise patience as he is trying not to rush things so that he should bring on the market material that he is fully comfortable with.
“For fear of lying to my fans I have not set any release date yet for the album nor have I put a title. But this new single is off that upcoming album project. Very soon you will listen to a new Hyphen album,” he said.
In between his first album and now, the artist dropped his Young Kay moniker and adopted the name Hyphen. He said that process was all part of the growth that he has achieved as a person and artist. He said that growth will be reflected in his new album.
He said: “So much has transpired in as far as life goes. The years have come with a bit of wisdom so obviously the music side of me has benefitted too.”
Recently the artist starred in another collabo, Atchauya with his close friend Piksy who believes Hyphen still has what it takes to rule the local urban music arena.
Piksy said: “Minus fact he is my friend, he is a talented guy. His composition and delivery is unique. So as you know unique things always stand out. I have little doubt that his upcoming album will shake the music industry again.”