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After Squashing Their Beef, Afropop Stars Ruger & BNXN Haven’t Just Made Amends — They’ve Made a New Album

While rap beef continues making headlines, Afropop stars Ruger and BNXN have squashed their beef and come together on a new album, RnB.

The two had been taking shots at one another on X back in August 2022. “In Nigeria, the excessive stanship is real. If you like an artist or you feel an artist is your fave, you almost go to every extent to prove it — even if that means fighting somebody else that says otherwise. That was the primary reason,” BNXN explains in an interview with Billboard News. “I think someone came at [Ruger], and then he responded to the person. The response had me all in it, and I’m like … it’s that 50 Cent meme where he’s like, ‘Me?’ That little ego clash had a lot to play in that.”

But looking back, the “GWAGWALADA” singer thinks the whole thing was “unnecessary” and was “blown out of proportion.”

Ruger also believed their fans played a role, not just online, but in real life. “We blew up properly at the same time, you understand. We were going to the same shows at that time, you understand, and our fans were there. So if one’s coming out, another one is coming out, the fans would be like, ‘Ayo!’ and boo the other person,” he tells Billboard‘s Tetris Kelly. “The music is everything that we have; we have to fight for it.”

But when the two finally decided to bury the hatchet, fate brought them together. BNXN was sitting on a plane, waiting for his flight to London to take off, and Ruger tapped him on his shoulder. “Is it fight or flight?” BNXN recalls with a chuckle.

But the “Asiwaju” artist breaks down why it was easier to fight online than in real life. “The reason why most of us fight online [is] because we don’t get to meet each other. But when we meet each other, we see the kind of person we are, we’re just about the music. It’s not really about bad blood like that,” Ruger says.

Ruger and BNXN proved they’re really just about the music when they released their joint album RnB (which stands for Ruger and Benson) on Thursday (April 18), which includes previously released singles “Romeo Must Die (RMD)” and “POE.” “Romeo Must Die (RMD)” peaked at No. 11 on Billboard‘s U.S. Afrobeats Songs chart. Ruger reveals it took him and BNXN only three days to make the seven-track project.

“When two artists like us come together, it’s sending a message to everyone around the industry, whether Nigeria, America, London, wherever,” says Ruger. “Working together actually pushes the sound farther. Just like for Afrobeats right now, many of us don’t really work together. People don’t drop joint projects like that. But this project actually is taking us to another level, whether you like it or not.”

BNXN adds that making RnB together was a “seamless” experience. “We wanted a collaborative effort, something that felt genuine and at the same time fit for each other’s persona,” he adds. “The producers — shout-out to Blaise[beatz] and Kuk[beats] — we’ve worked with the producers individually before. Kuk was more of Ruger’s producer, and Blaise used to really work with me a lot. So it’s like, OK, we’re going to share ideas off what we’ve already done with these producers, and let’s see what we can connect with, what songs we can connect with. We’re bouncing off each other’s energies.”

Watch Ruger and BNXN’s full Billboard News interview above.

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