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CARIBBEAN DJs PROFILES
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Hypa HoppaHYPA HOPPA

Many words surface in trying to describe Kwesi Hopkinson. There’s the obvious, the monikers – Hoppie; Hoppa; Hypa Hoppa, – and the indistinct, the type you have to scratch for – enterprising, focused, visionary, genius maybe? How else to classify the essence of a young man who has transformed parties in Diamond Vale into a bonafide brand name?

With a brief look into his history, perhaps you will be inclined to agree. Hypa first got into the entertainment business as the DJ for a hip-hop group he had formed with a few friends called “Masters in Creativity”. This collection of music fanatics would later become the Sound System, “Radioactive”. Much to the vexation of his parents, Hypa’s main focus as a Trinity College student was conjuring new ways of sneaking out the house to attend parties. There he became nightlife’s most diligent student, learning through trial and error, the tricks of the DJ trade.

By 1995, he was ready to pursue music full-time, mortifying his parents for the umpteenth time, and discarding a degree in mechanical engineering. He threw his first party which launched the promotional group, Players Inc. and the Radioactive Sound System. From then on, his crew became a household name in the Blue Range and Serpentine Road areas. Once Radioactive – who admired the Jamaican Sound systems such as Stone Love, Kilamanjaro and Base Odyssey – began creating dub plates of their own, they basically had a devoted and burgeoning youth following locked down.

Hypa HoppaWith this success, Hypa was thoroughly infected by the entrepreneurial bug, creating signature events such as Swarm with Sel Construction, Fully Loaded and Children of the 80’s, and later bringing such international acts as Sean Paul, Mighty Crown, Black Chinee and TOK to Trinidad. It was hard not to take notice. Opportunities abounded: Friday night DJ at The Base and a spot on radio, a dead spot, but a radio spot all the same. Adamant that he was going to make his mark on radio, Hypa and his crew brought to life the time slot they were allocated, the energies of his listeners and an eponymous trademark. And with his name on the tip of a lot of people’s tongue, Hypa was ready to conquer another area of popular culture: fashion. “I always liked fashion. I like good quality clothes, but I found that I couldn’t buy clothes in Trinidad, so I decided to supply clothes to people like me who didn’t want imitation.” A business that started at the back of his car, is now a brand in its own right located on Tragarete Road. Call it drive, call it tenacity, he calls it divine intervention, “When something is for you, it’s for you. Right about the time I thought of getting my own store, the spot I’m currently based at became available.”

Hypa HoppaSo now onto the next big project: Programme Director of RED 96.7 FM, a position that Hypa believes was tailor-made for him. “This was such an opportunity to learn more about the industry. I was always a leader and a leader leads his troops into battle. I thought that if this station were to happen, it needed a certain type of person and I am here. This had to be destiny – it’s another thing that has lined up for me, so I had to grasp the opportunity.” First on his agenda? Making sure that everyone knows that RED 96.7 FM is the new #1. He goes cryptic here : “Doing that could be difficult. It could be easy. Think about it. Make sure you write that eh!” In a more lucid moment he opines that “RED is the pulse of our nation. We have it – good programming, the best Sound Systems, great announcers… so although you have a choice, you really have no choice. I’ll put it another way, Noah built the ark and not everything went on the ark. He took the best. Everything else is just inferior."

Interview with Hypa Hoppa Interview with Hypa Hoppa
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