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Artiste Rivalry, Digital Fandom and the Narratives of Oppositional Politics in Nigerian Hip-Hop

The place of fans in the sustenance of superstar visibility and the accompanying digital narratives of fandom have been understudied in Nigerian hip-hop. In this study, I engage the intersection of artiste rivalry, digital fandom and oppositional politics. I assert these narratives as socio-cultural rendition of the inter-discursive affordance of the digital space wherein fans have access to their subjects of fandom. I rely on an eclectic mix of representative data although the artistes in focus are Wizkid, Davido and Burnaboy. Beyond the representations of ‘beef’ or artiste rivalry in their lyrics, I employ videos, interviews, and news reports. I complement these with fans’ reactions through hashtags, keywords and trends in Twitter engagements within the context of Nigerian hip-hop fan culture and practices. I pay attention to how language manifests in name-calling, signifying and slangification, online fan banters and vituperations, in- or outgroup identity, etc. which I aggregate as outcomes of superstardom and digital fandom within fan practices. I use Critical Discourse Analysis and Fandom theory for my analysis. I affirm that an aggregation of artistes’ representations as well as fans’ digital narratives provide insight into the dynamics of popular culture and how fans interrogate discourses around music celebrities.


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Iso Lomso Fellow

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