Republic Records to scrap the term “Urban” within it’s label, while urging others to “follow suit”.

Rehana Harmony

By Rehana Harmony

Rehana Harmony

7 Jun 2020

The home of some the industries most prominent stars – such as; Drake, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, Lil Wayne and Kid Cudi – Republic Records, has announced the removal of the term “urban music” when referring to hip-hop and R&B.

The decision follows Tyler, The Creator‘s remarks surrounding the “urban” categorisation, just after his Best Rap Album GRAMMY for IGOR this past February. 

The rapper stated: “I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending, they always put it in a rap or “urban” category. And I don’t like that “urban” word, it’s just a politically correct way to say the ‘N-word’ to me. So when I hear that I’m just like, ‘why can’t we just be in Pop’ you know what I mean?”

The label encourages “the rest of the music industry to follow suit as it is important to shape the future of what we want it to look like, and not adhere to the outdated structures of the past,” in response this week’s viral outrage, which resulted in worldwide protests with the Black Lives Matter movement – that saw thousand march in solidarity while demanding justice for the brutal murder of George Floyd and countless other African American lives who were taken by police.

The labels official statement reads: “We’ve decided, effective immediately, Republic Records will remove “urban” from the label’s verbiage in describing departments, employee titles and music genres. By way of background, “urban” is rooted in the historical evolution of terms that sought to define Black music. As with a lot of our history, the original connotation of the term urban was not deemed negative. Nearly 50 years ago Frankie Crocker coined the term “urban” to define the sound of his radio station in an attempt to better represent his audience,” the statement reads.

“However, over time the meaning and connotations of “urban” have shifted and it developed into a generalization of Black people in many sectors of the music industry, including employees and music by Black artists. While this change will not and does not affect any of our staff structurally, it will remove the use of this antiquated term,” the label concluded.