Two months ago, on a cold Thursday night, dozens scurried into a small-sized capacity auditorium. There, Davido was answering questions under bright lights on stage and, minutes later, he would elicit a loud ovation from the small crowd after delivering an energetic live performance of a few songs from his soon-to-be released album, A Better Time. But he was sure oblivious to the number one trending topic that night on Twitter.
The hashtag #ABetterThrash was oozing retweets and conversations on Twitter. As the clock ticked down to midnight when Davido’s A Better Time was to be released, the infamous hashtag nestled at the top of the trends. Who was behind this strange hashtag minutes before the album’s public release? Wizkid FC.
To the group, it was nothing personal. They were finally shaking the hand of hatred extended by Davido’s 30BG a few weeks back when the word “Thrash” appeared as a trending topic alongside Made In Lagos. “I wondered how 30BG could do this and go scot-free when your fav is about to drop too,” Basit, a staunch member of Wizkid FC pondered. “When ABT dropped, I was like it’s time for payback.”
How Did The War Begin?
Stan culture in Nigerian music grew out of the hostility between feuding artists. But it wasn’t until 2017 when the trend began to get ugly and slide towards being toxic. With Wizkid and Davido constantly tweeting subtle shades at each other, their fans would later troop in to join the battle, with Twitter as the battlefield. Both artists would later settle, but their fan groups haven’t had it peaceful ever since. Slowly, it grew from comparisons to awful tweets about the artists’ health, lifestyles and sadly, their family.
Recently, a Davido stan made mockery of Wizkid’s looks, coupling two images: one screenshot of Wizkid’s tweet urging kids not to do drugs and the other, showing Wizkid grinning in a tweet that slyed towards body shaming. Last year, Davido had to comment on a post that referenced his late mother in an insulting manner. Those are few examples of the increasing toxicity that won’t stop on the bird app.
Vincent, who stans Davido on Twitter aims his finger at Wizkid FC as the originator of the toxicity existing between the two fanbases. “They troll Davido everyday, so we return the favour,” he says. “We were not the ones who started it.” A staunch member of Wizkid FC who pleaded anonymity however rebuffs this notion. “This whole animosity between Wizkid FC and 30 BG started because of the way Davido carries himself, how he brags and how he watches his team members constantly throw dirt on Wizkid’s name,” he tells me. “It’s not retaliation per se. We’re only defending Wizkid’s name and image.”
“They troll Davido everyday, so we return the favour.”
There have also been insinuations the daily expression of hate between the two fan blocs have been a contributing factor to the hostility between Wizkid and Davido. To find the last time both artists interacted, we would have to date back to October 2019 when Davido welcomed his first son, Ifeanyi. Wizkid would shelve whatever hostility they had aside when he sent his congratulatory wishes over Instagram stories. Davido would acknowledge, offering profound thanks. Since then, there has been heavy speculation the two artists are feuding. That statement was further stemmed when Wizkid wouldn’t acknowledge Davido’s congratulatory message after Made In Lagos‘ release.
Basit views that move as a treacherous one, making mention of the comments the “FEM” crooner made about Wizkid and Burna Boy in a recent interview. “If you’re trying to make up with someone, you don’t go out in public to say another thing,” he tells me over the phone, “People close to you, who you feed and pay salary, will also throw shade. Since you pay them, you have the power to tell them not to do it.” Omoissy, a prominent member of the 30BG on Twitter also shares this same view. “I think it’s majorly the people around them, their clique, who fuel this beef because that’s who they trust.”
“I think it’s majorly the people around them, their clique, who fuel this beef because that’s who they trust.”
The Role of Social Media Influencers
When you look at it closely, music enthusiasts will have their favorites. While it’s possible to enjoy the music being dished out by the two artists and be neutral, pushing aside sentiments, your heart will gravitate towards one than the other. But this choice might not be influenced by talent or artistry displayed in the tracks these artists release. It could be informed by lifestyle exhibited by the artist which tends to be synonymous to yours.
Most times, this lifestyle could just be another reason members of a fanbase aggressively vouch for their artist online. And it could be the reason why they despise the other artist. Tife Fabunmi, a social media influencer who boasts over 50k followers on Twitter and is a passionate follower of Davido agrees with this. “Thing is some people are supporting Wizkid not because they like Wizkid but because they hate Davido,” he says. “If you can’t beat them, you join them. So because they hate Davido, they have to join the opposition party.”
Influencers haven’t helped in cooling the flames of the animosity either. The whole agenda of “you can support one without dissing the other” has been shifted aside. It’s not surprising to see a tweet with the first 140 characters dedicated to praising Davido then the other half of the tweet is dedicated to downplaying Wizkid. “Influencers have their favorite,” Tife speaks further. “Some people follow and engage me because I support Davido. Let’s not lie, if you love music, you’ll have your favorite.”
“Thing is some people are supporting Wizkid not because they like Wizkid, but because they hate Davido.”
There’s also this consciousness that exists among the two fanbases. The belief they have to do this every day. The rationale is simple. Throw shades every day. Camp under the artist’s tweet to downplay their achievements. Make mockery of every move of the artist. This breeds nothing but negativity, yet we have to agree they are spurred with the idea of retaliation. Other times, it emanates from a viewpoint that their favorite artist is better talent wise, has more numbers or is faring better in terms of achievements than the other. “The stan culture thing is rivalry and down to preference. To be honest, it’s pointless because you can never come to an agreement,” Kussman, a die-hard Wizkid fan says. “You cannot convince me till I die that Davido is better than Wizkid. Same way a Davido fan strongly believes Davido is better than Wizkid”.
Can This Animosity Ever Stop?
While it’s good for the artists since they are always in the conversations, there’s the potential this might turn out to be ugly. We’ve seen scenarios when sports banter in a football viewing center will spark up physical fights thereby leading to unpredicted violence. While the fanbases online might see this as occasional banter, the increasing velocity might actually be a factor in the extension of the hostility between the two artists.
But one wonders why the fanbases have to do this everyday. Everyday trolling, everyday hating, everyday downplaying the other artists feats. Hate from one camp is surpassed by even more emblazoned hate from the other camp.
“You know, there are situations in which the two artists are being compared and then one or two of the artists will come out probably to caution their fans. Just like how Mayorkun corrected a fan who compared him and Olamide. If either of Wizkid or Davido has been doing that people will know that the issue is the fans. It’s like both artists are even cool with it,” Tife says.
Can there ever be peace?
This writer feels a collaboration between the two artists will soothe the angst of their fan groups. Kussman however has mixed feelings about this move if it definitely happens. “There can be peace between two artists but not between their fanbases,” he says. “If that collaboration happens, there will be pointless arguments on who had the better verse or who spoilt the song.”