By Jason Keil   Published Aug 13, 2004 at 5:22 AM

{image1}Every night, the mostly adolescent audience of the popular evening 103.7 KISS-FM show "KISS Combat" is asked to exercise its right to vote by calling in and choosing the better of two new singles the station plays that night, one of them usually being the champion of the night before.

In mid-July, after winning the program five nights in a row, the show's listeners retired the debut single by hip-hop artist and former Rufus King High School student and 1995 Phoenix Alternative School graduate Rayedan (a.k.a. Darren Dancil), titled "Mr. Hiccup."

If the radio show didn't have rules determining how long a song can remain champion, "Mr. Hiccup" could easily have been the Ken Jennings of "KISS Combat." It's easy to see why. The song doesn't sound like anything being played on the Top 40 radio station and is so infectious it will remain in your head and itch in your brain until you manage to somehow scratch -- or perhaps belch -- it out. "Mr. Hiccup" has a vocal cadence that sounds a bit like Chaka Demus rhyming a Christmas carol and a clickety-bonk rhythm track that would make Jamaica's Sly and Robbie proud.

But what makes the success of the single so unusual is the man behind it. Rayedan, unlike most other hip-hop artists, doesn't come with loads of hype from record companies trying to project an image of a "gangsta" who's been shot or stabbed nine times while showing off his oodles of bling-bling. He doesn't even have his own clothing line. Rayedan can afford to not carry this false image because "Mr. Hiccup" is being released by the company he co-founded in Atlanta six years ago, Smooth Entertainment, Inc.

"My image is just being myself," he says, "I just want to keep myself the way I am."

With "Mr. Hiccup" being played non-stop in Canada and starting to get more airplay on radio stations and dance clubs everywhere, Rayedan is finally seeing all of his hard work through the years come to fruition.

At age 13, he began appearing in talent shows with his brother and cousin. But just as he was starting to become sidetracked and lose his focus on his talent, the young singer was blessed with an opportunity. Through a family member, he and his brother were able to meet r&b vocalist Monica. He was so inspired after talking with her about her life and career, that he took one look at his brother and said, "We got to do this!"

So, with the love and support of his family behind him, Rayedan, at the age of 20, moved to Atlanta, which was quickly becoming a Mecca for up-and-coming hip-hop artists. He reveled in the idea of testing his gift in a new setting, but he quickly realized that the music scene there was becoming very frustrating.

"The one thing with Atlanta is that they only seem to support only Atlanta music and artists, which is more like 'krunk' music, like Lil' Jon ," he says.

This frustration led to the formation of Smooth Entertainment, Inc., which Rayedan formed with his partner Allen "AL" Richardson. The first album released by the company was appropriately titled "Smooth," which made such an impression on the local industry that the CD won an award from the Georgia Music Industry Association.

Despite the popular and innovative work of hip-hop artists like Missy Elliot and OutKast, Rayedan's frustration with hip-hop continues.

"Right now, it's stagnant," he says, "It's is so hard to distinguish artists from each other. I want to bring something new and different and not follow any trends. I want to give listeners something away from the norm, something that they can feel."

His upcoming release, titled "I Come," should live up to Rayedan's standards. The versatile disc doesn't follow any specific trends or style, at times flirting with a reggae flavor and others following a totally different beat. No matter the style, the album will live up to only one image: Rayedan's.

Rayedan's Web site, which a "Mr. Hiccup" ringtone, is