Is the music industry completely okay with the use of ‘urban’ as a catch-all term to describe all the different denominations of hip-hop and R&B?

In a word, no. Read more from Music Business Worldwide.

One Response

  1. Kimani Chappell

    Kevin Fleming
    Editor, Founder
    The Urban Buzz

    Mr. Fleming,

    I hope this correspondence finds you well. The following responds to a recent article linked by your digital magazine.

    Music execs are sickened, insulted, mad, embarrassed (tired even) at the use of the term…”urban”; being used as a catch-all phrase to describe black music. They say is degrading and doesn’t do the various genes justice. Ah yes. Oh, the horror.

    Are you kidding? You mean to tell me these educated, well paid folks are more dissatisfied with the way their genre is discribed by a innocuous legitimate term; as appose to how the harmful, hateful, destructive, degradating, disgusting, damaging, centuries old “n” word has now thoroughly permeated the entire black music genre? They are not mad at that?! Incredible.

    You and I use to talk way back when you first started “Urban Buzz”. But that was several lost phones ago. You are still doing a great job. But I have to say, you had me going for a minute, Bruh. When I read the title of the article, I thought to myself ‘Wow. Finally! They are going to address it.’ But alas, it tis only about ruffled boojie feelings. Aww.

    I can sympathize on some levels but considering there is a more pressing issue here that needs addressing; I can’t bother with that.

    It’s bad enough that rap and all of hip hop pray at the feet of the “n” word. Now r&b has has embraced it.

    – Trey Songz (Bottoms Up): 
    “Hatin’ ass nigga, you can move to the, move to the, move to the side..”
    – R Kelly (Right Back)
    “Right back to my niggas 
    Right back to my niggas 
    Right back to my niggas 
    Right back to my niggas”
    – Neyo (Can’t Buy): 
    “Catch you slippin’ in the kitchen, on the counter shit (damn)
    Oh shit (sup), I guess I’ll pause for these bitches
    Guess I’ll ball for these niggas, swear this my last three swishers..”

    You get the point. What do they all have in common? They are young, late twenties to early forties. Is that an excuse? By no means. Should they have a historical frame of reference? Of course. Should they know better? Absolutely. Especially Trey Songz, considering he use to practically live with my family in Virginia back in the day. And still visits.

    The excuse of course (there are many) is “We are singing to and appealing to a younger generation of music buyers.” “We use and incorporate familiar terminology they use on a regular basis; in our songs.” “We allow our artist the maximum artistic latitude possible to create the best financially viable product.” I’m guessing as to their reasoning. But with that said, is it no less detrimental the music, those artist and musicians that paved the way, to us?

    Turning to rap for a moment. I know for a fact you heard what happened at a fairly recent Kendrick Lamar concert. He invited a concertgoer on stage to sing the lyrics to one of his song she proceeds to scream the lyrics into the mic including the “n” word. He shocked (???) asks her to leave the stage. Oh, now you’re insulted? You laying it all over wax wasn’t a problem. But now…

    I said all of that to say this, comparatively, industry execs problems with the use of the term “urban” to label a genre pales in importance and sting to the continued derogatory, demeaning use of the “n” word in music (specifically R&B) and the larger culture. Will it come a time when they find the time to address that? Thank you.