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How Wizkid Won Against Vybz Kartel

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How Wizkid Won Against Vybz Kartel - Wizkid and Vybz Kartel 300x200 - How Wizkid Won Against Vybz Kartel

The partial easing of the total lockdown directive in Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun has provided the much-awaited opportunity for Nigerians to go out in search of the daily bread as usual. There is angst in the country, but amidst this instability is the unwavering and infectious energy of Wizkid FC on social media.

The Battle of Hits, labeled NS10vs10, was organized by an online radio station, No Signal. It was to determine which of the two artists (Wizkid and Vybz Kartel) have more commercially successful songs.

It occurred on Sunday, May 3, and it is perhaps the battle to crown all other battles because the (arguably) biggest singing sensation Nigeria has ever witnessed was involved. This personality cannot be alienated from the success of Nigerian Afropop and how hugely it has been exported globally.

Having captured the attention of Nigerians through his unique vocals and vibe in 2010, Wizkid has grown into a demigod with a loyal army paying him blind allegiance.

Some critics have observed that no other artist, in the history of Nigerian pop culture, has the mass loyalty Wizkid has.

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It’s interesting to see that this kind of support cannot be bought off the shelf of a mega retail store, even if one wanted to. It has also helped push the frontiers of his talent and stardom status.

This particular Battle of Hits was extraordinary: before the event, excited Wizkid FC, the common title denoting his large fanbase, were on Twitter fuelling the conversation such that it occupied a top spot on Nigerian Twitter Trends list.

Going through the tweets, it seemed obvious that the odds were in his favor. But Vybz Kartel, his slated contender, is an artist in a league of his own, with an impressive following and a reputed higher global acclaim – his Jamaican descent being partly responsible.

People pitched their tents respectively and the die was cast, with a rather boastful army on Wizkid’s side and unruffled confidence exhibited by Vybz Kartel’s followers. Individual polls were conducted beforehand to serve as a warm-up to the main event, and Wizkid won most of them.

This didn’t rattle the unflinching stance of Vybz Kartel’s camp, as they continued to extol his catalog hopeful that it would give the impression of Wizkid as the David daring a Goliath.

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The exploits of his chief rival colleague, Davido, and not-so-new newcomer poster-boy for Afrobeat, Burna Boy, has waned Wizkid’s monopoly. In spite of this, his loyalists keep holding the flag.

Detractors of Wizkid have opined that his successful phase in the industry might have fizzled out, one of their strong claims is that he had to use a female Afropop star as his video vixen in order to sell a mediocre song.

Another claim is that of his recently inane lyrics that bore the life out of the listener on a second play. But isn’t contemporary Afrobeat more about ludicrous lyrics and a groovy beat? There are RnB and Soul for all that thought-provoking content.

Yet it doesn’t diminish the validity of their argument, especially considering that Nigerians hardly patronize other genres. It’s not bad to want to dance and simultaneously reflect: think Adekunle Gold.

What’s enthralling is the fact that the odds which his detractors pinpointed would cause his career to go downhill had no bearing whatsoever in this just-concluded battle.

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It was strictly a battle of hits, not a battle of deep lyrics, with the audience serving as judges. And this is the highlight of it all: Wizkid remains undefeated largely because of his legion of fans.

He might have held the industry spellbound by his excellent songs during the inception of his career, but he has not exceptionally performed of recent, leaving much to be desired by the listener.

Hence, his win against Vybz Kartel is hinged on the Wizkid-of-old, the Holla-at-your-boy Wizkid who still manages to dazzle us with melodies that are characteristic of his nostalgic tunes every now and then.

With Wizkid’s catalog for the battle, it was a no-brainer that he wouldn’t come out unsuccessful. Vybz Kartel has his repute and fanbase, but it was a night to celebrate – yet again – one of the youngest Nigerian superstars.

And although Wizkid FC might have facilitated his win against Vybz Kartel, there was a time when his critics had little or nothing to fault him regarding his music: we want that time back.

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