Beyoncé’s Country Era: “It’s a real-life boogie and a real-life hoedown”!

21.02.2024
By superadmin

Beyoncé’s no stranger to making the world stop, and that’s exactly what happened when she surprised fans by announcing her new album and dropping two new country singles after her Verizon commercial at the Super Bowl on 11th February. 

 

Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons 

Set to debut on 29th March 2024, this forthcoming Act II album is the second installment of her Renaissance trilogy project, following her acclaimed dance and house themed 2022 album, Renaissance. Reported to be country-themed, many fans had speculated Beyoncé’s transition into this genre, largely due to her recent revival of her Southern roots through American West aesthetics: from her predominant use of cowboy hats during her Renaissance tour and visuals, to her custom Louis Vuitton Grammys outfit –  consisting of a ribbon tie, studded leather jacket and skirt, and a white Stetson cowboy hat. Now, her two latest singles, ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ and ‘16 Carriages’, establish that Queen B has truly entered her country era!

Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons 

This isn’t her first rodeo, though! On her 2016 album, Lemonade, Beyoncé experimented with the country genre through her track, ‘Daddy’s Lessons’, a twangy tune that explored her Texan childhood roots and relationship with her father. 

The song was met with controversy over whether it constituted a country track, with The Recording Academy’s country music committee rejecting it from consideration within country music categories at the Grammys, along with Beyoncé’s performance of ‘Daddy’s Lessons’ with country band, The Chicks, at the Country Music Awards sparking some outrage. This pushback and exclusion is something that has been considerably prevalent amongst Black artists within this genre, from Ray Charles to Lil Nas X and his viral hit ‘Old Town Road’. 

Already, Beyoncé’s new singles have reignited the age-old conversation of racism and gatekeeping within the country genre, having seen backlash over their constitution as country songs, with local Oklahoma country radio station, KYKC, initially declining a request to play ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’, stating they “did not play Beyoncé as we are a country music station”. This decision was later reversed after pushback from fans, with the station elaborating they were unaware that Beyoncé had released music classified as country. 

 

Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons 

 

With Renaissance paying homage to Black queer ballroom culture, many believe the trilogy to be a reclamation of genres influenced and pioneered by Black musicians, with Act II being an ode to Black roots within the country genre. Her new singles certainly align with this, with beat-stomping, hoe-down track, ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’, featuring Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician, Rhiannon Giddens, on banjo and viola (whose work focuses on reclaiming African American contributions to folk, country and roots music), and soaring, introspective ballad ‘16 Carriages’ featuring Black roots musician and steel guitarist, Robert Randolph. 

 

Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons 

The singles have already seen success, dominating iTunes charts and debuting Beyoncé on Billboard’s Country Radio chart – with her becoming the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart! She’s also seen TikTok traction, with users dancing along to ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’! We’re so here for the ‘Yeehaw Agenda’ and can’t wait for Act II

Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons 

 

 

 

 

Thumbnail Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons 

Featured Image by Image by Raph_PH via Wikimedia Commons