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This Is a Beyoncé Album

Beyoncé has gone country – well, sort of. She has always been from the south.

Two years after the drop of her album Renaissance, Queen Bey is back and now taking on the country genre. On Superbowl Sunday, Beyoncé announced that her “act two” would be released soon. That day, we were gifted two singles: “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM” and “16 CARRIAGES”. Since the release of “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM,” the song has been #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Country Songs for the past six weeks. When the album came out, it topped charts within hours of its release.

While topping records is quite exciting, this album has a rich meaning and tells the story of Beyoncé and her Black Southern heritage.

Beyoncé and her parents, hailing from Houston, Texas. (S. Bukley)

Beyoncé has always been proud of her deep Southern roots, as mentions can be heard in “BLACK PARADE,” “Run the World,” and “Formation.” She also has multiple songs where she speaks about her Black heritage. With roots from Alabama and Louisiana – and being a native of Houston, Texas – Beyoncé Giselle Knowles did not need to prove to anyone that she is from the country. But with the album “Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé shut up those who doubted her.

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Act ii: Cowboy Carter is Beyoncé’s 8th studio album and is said to be a continuation of her extraordinarily successful Renaissance album. Within her album, she has collaborated with notable Country artists such as Willie Nelson, Miley Cyrus, and Dolly Parton.

One of her songs is a cover of The Beatles’ infamous “Blackbird” in which she collaborated with other Black female country artists Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, and Tiera Kennedy. “Blackbird” was written during the Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s and was inspired by The Little Rock Nine. In her cover of the song, Beyoncé’s collaboration creates a more meaningful message to the original song.

The album emphasizes the resistance of Black voices in the country genre. On the first song on the album, “AMERICAN REQUIEM”, she speaks on the issue of being “too country” but at the same time “not country enough”. Even now, with the drop of “TEXAS HOLD ‘EM”, a radio station in Oklahoma refused to play the song: “We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC, as we are a country music station,” they said.

The issues faced by Black women in the genre are still prominent and plaguing, but throughout it all, Beyoncé is now the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs.

Beyoncé at Lion King premiere, 2019.

The album has been said to be in the making for five years now, in which deep research took place. “‘COWBOY CARTER’ is a sprawling 80-minute tribute not only to those pioneering artists and their outlaw spirits, but to the very futility of reducing music to a single identifying word,” says her album description on Apple Music.

Beyoncé told us, “this ain’t a country album. This is A Beyoncé album.” And that is exactly what we got; as mentioned, this album is a continuation of her Renaissance album, and you can tell with some songs like “RIVERDANCE” AND “SWEET HONEY BUCKIN’” which have upbeat grooves and pop hints to them. Beyoncé combined and rewrote genre lines. She didn’t let the typical “standards” of what a genre is stop her from creating an album that is…well, Beyoncé.

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About the Contributor
Jeffrey Sorto
Jeffrey Sorto, Staff Writer
Jeffrey is from Prince George's County and graduated from Northwestern High School. He was swim captain his senior year and graduated the summer of 2022. Jeffrey joined the HCC community the following fall. He plans on achieving his AA in Communications and transferring to a four-year to receive his Bachelors in either Journalism or Public Relations. He enjoys a good night out in the city, traveling, trying new foods and spending time by the water. He hopes to write articles that encourage HCC students to attend events happening in and around Howard County and neighboring DMV areas.

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