Babbel: The new language trends in urban music

Urban music has more weight in society every day and its language has long permeated the way people speak. For this reason, the experts from Babbel, the language learning platform, wanted to analyze the keys to the new language of urban music.

The BZRP Music Session #53 with Shakira it is going around the world and it is clearly going to become one of the hits of this 2023. In just 24 hours the song by the Colombian artist and the Argentine producer and composer achieved more than 50 million views on Youtube, breaking all records. And as often happens, reactions on social networks always go hand in hand.

Millions of messages commenting on the song have flooded the networks and it is that not even the big brands have been able to stay out of this historic beef (term that became popular in the world of hip-hop in the United States to express conflict or fight). Urban music has more weight in society every day and its language has long permeated the way people speak. For this reason, experts from babbelthe language learning platform, wanted to analyze the keys to the new language of urban music.

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The use of invented terms

Without a doubt this is one of the most common trends. Urban artists have created their own vocabulary that, if you’re not a fan of the genre, can be difficult to understand. For example, “border” It is used to define when someone attacks another person. In addition to finding it in countless letters, this word has been used by the Argentine rapper Duki to title his song “If they want to frontier.” Another example is the last song by Ozuna “Who’s going to front”

Urban music is a party, dancing, singing… and “jangueo” is his own word to define fun. “joseando” is another invented term, but in this case, its origin comes from the English word “hustle” which means hustle, to be from one side to another.

When it comes to a language of its own in music, the queen par excellence is Rosalía, especially with her latest album. “Motomami”. With this album, the artist has collaborated on the long list of invented terms, contributing many words that most people have never heard, starting with the title of her album, with which she wants to refer to force (motorcycle) and the fragility (mommy), according to the singer. The “Saoko, daddy, saoko” that so many people have sung and that not many have understood, it is originally written with c, and is used in Latin America to name something with flavor, with a good rhythm.

“Benjis” Y “expensive” They are other terms that fans have adopted as if they were words they have been using since they were little. In the case of the first, Rosalía wants to refer to the $100 bills that bear the face of Benjamin Franklin. “E for expensive, empress, enigma, aware” says the artist in one of her hits, “Spanishizing” the english term “expensive”which means expensive, costly.

The use of spanglish

Closely related to these new words, which come mostly from English, is the popularity of singing in Spanglish. A few years ago, the use of Spanish and English simultaneously was something that very few artists ventured to do, however, currently it is something that is the order of the day.

This trend is growing more and more, giving way to collaborations between artists of very different styles who speak different languages. “Fame” of Rosalía and The Weeknd or “Go on” by J. Balvin and Ed Sheeran are clear examples that combining English and Spanish in a song is synonymous with success.

Using animal metaphors is a trend that is also going strong and there are many artists who refer to them in their songs. Following Rosalía’s line, we see how the singer refers to butterflies, not only in her song by Saoko with “Eh, I am very mine, I transform myself. A butterfly, I transform myself” but also on the cover of his album. This reference comes because, as the artist explains in various interviews, she really likes butterflies but they give her a lot of respect, like the stage, where she is happy. Furthermore, the butterfly is also a symbol of transformation.

Shakira already achieved success in 2009 with the song “wolf” in which the artist wanted to wink at freedom with her famous phrase “a wolf in the closet wants to come out” and the staging locked in a cage. And, as if that were not enough, the wolf has returned with a clear declaration of intent to the one who was her partner and the father of her children, because “A wolf like her is not for guys like him.”

And Bad Bunny could not be missing from this list, one of the most recognized artists of the urban genre, who maximizes this trend by referring to animals even in his own name. In addition, in his songs we can also find mentions of different animals such as the cat, widely used in Latin American trap and reggaeton to refer to men or women: “Your kitten lost you due to negligence”phrase of the song “Effect” from his latest album.

“Languages ​​are constantly evolving. It is fascinating to see how they transform and adapt, among many things, to cultural milestones such as the emergence of new musical genres”, said David Marín, Learning Experience Designer at Babbel. “In our content we are constantly committed to incorporating these new ways of speaking into language learning so that students can apply their knowledge to real situations of their daily lives”, added.

One of the last bets of babbel to bring language learning closer to the routine of its students is precisely the audio format. Featuring award-winning podcasts from babbelvoiced by expert linguists, internalizing new vocabularies in a simple, entertaining way and almost without realizing it is much easier.

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Elton Gardner

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