Urban Legends/Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) and Dictionary.com have collaborated on a novel approach to celebrate Black Music Month—and also spotlight the continuing impact of black music on American life.
Urban Legends, UMe’s urban catalog imprint, and Dictionary.com are doing so by way of what they call a “lexical mixtape” campaign titled The Greatest Language Hits of Black Music. Across its social media accounts throughout June, Dictionary.com is posting various examples of how black artists’ music has been instrumental in popularizing many slang terms over the past century and across several genres. For example, the now-ubiquitous term cool was first coined by jazz artists in the 1940s.
The examples cited in The Greatest Language Hits of Black Music (#BlackMusicMonthDefined) range from back in the day with Big Mama Thorton (“Hound Dog”) and “Howlin’ Wolf (“Killer Floor”) to present-day hitmakers like the Migos (“Bad and Boujee”), Big Sean (“Guap”) and SZA (“Love Galore”). The latter song features the term “skrrrt,” defined in slang lingo as “the sound of a car speeding away.” Each brief artist profile/lingo definition is also accompanied by a streaming link to the said act’s music.