Beyoncé just dropped ‘Cowboy Carter’ and “if this ain’t country, tell me, what is?”

Beyoncé's 'Cowboy Carter' is a triumphant exploration of what it is to be American.


Beyoncé has just dropped the much-anticipated, ‘Renaissance Act II’ AKA ‘Cowboy Carter’. The 27-track record features collaborations with Linda Martell, Post Malone, Miley Cyrus, Shaboozey, country king Willie Nelson and Beyoncé’s youngest daughter, Rumi Carter.

The album starts with a rallying cry. Track ‘American Requiem’ highlights the album’s raison d’être – that despite roots in the south, Beyoncé has always been told “she ain’t country ‘nough”. This critique was first voiced in 2016, when performing ‘Lemonade’ track ‘Daddy Lessons’ with The Chicks at the CMAs (Country Music Awards). The performance received kickback from the country community, who didn’t think Beyoncé belonged on country’s biggest stage. At the event, the crowd talked through her performance, a moment Beyoncé nods to in the ‘American Requiem”s chorus: “It’s a lot of talkin’ goin’ on / while I sing my song / can you hear me? / I said, do you hear me?

But through collaborations with some of the genre’s finest on ‘Cowboy Carter’, Queen Bey proves that if you build a wall, she’s coming back with a bulldozer.


Elsewhere on the album, Dolly Parton references Beyoncé’s ‘Sorry’ while introducing a reinterpretation of ‘Jolene’:

“Hey miss honey Bey, it’s Dolly P. You know that hussy with the good hair you sing about?,” asks Parton. “It reminds me of someone I knew way back when. Except she has flaming locks of auburn hair. Just a hair of different colour, but it hurts just the same.”

Though, to call this record a country-record through and through would be to do it a disservice. While the genre’s traits provide a solid through-line, Beyoncé weaves between genres – most notably on ‘Spaghetti’ and ‘Sweet * Honey * Buckiin”. These tracks feature verses from Shaboozey, a Nigerian-American rapper best known for blending country and hip-hop, which the songs do effortlessly.

Throughout ‘Cowboy Carter’, Beyoncé challenges traditional notions of Americana which in an election year, feels particularly pertinent.

Of the record, Beyoncé says: “This album took over five years. It’s been really great to have the time and the grace to be able to take my time with it. I was initially going to put ‘Cowboy Carter’ out first, but with the pandemic, there was too much heaviness in the world. We wanted to dance. We deserved to dance. But I had to trust God’s timing.

“The joy of creating music is that there are no rules. The more I see the world evolving the more I felt a deeper connection to purity. With artificial intelligence and digital filters and programming, I wanted to go back to real instruments, and I used very old ones. I didn’t want some layers of instruments like strings, especially guitars, and organs perfectly in tune. I kept some songs raw and leaned into folk. All the sounds were so organic and human, everyday things like the wind, snaps and even the sound of birds and chickens, the sounds of nature.”

                1.            AMERIICAN REQUIEM
                2.            BLACKBIIRD
                3.            16 CARRIAGES
                4.            PROTECTOR
                5.            MY ROSE
                6.            SMOKE HOUR ★ WILLIE NELSON
                7.            TEXAS HOLD ‘EM
                8.            BODYGUARD
                9.            DOLLY P
                10.          JOLENE
                11.          DAUGHTER
                12.          SPAGHETTII
                13.          ALLIIGATOR TEARS
                14.          SMOKE HOUR II
                15.          JUST FOR FUN
                16.          II MOST WANTED
                17.          LEVII’S JEANS
                18.          FLAMENCO
                19.          THE LINDA MARTELL SHOW
                20.          YA YA
                21.          OH LOUISIANA
               22.          DESERT EAGLE
              23.          RIIVER DANCE
              24.          II HANDS II HEAVEN
             25.           TYRANT
             26.           SWEET ★ HONEY ★ BUCKIIN’
             27.           AMEN

Listen to ‘Cowboy Carter’ below:

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