Surprising Revelations From Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album

Through 27 tracks, the Houston native breaks the barriers of genre for Black artists

Beyoncé’s album Cowboy Carter marks a groundbreaking moment in debunking the myth of genre. As one of the most influential figures in music, Beyoncé’s presence brings attention and relevance to country music that extends far beyond its traditional audience. She challenges stereotypes and expands the definition of being an artist. Her fusion of country sounds with her signature R&B and pop influences creates a unique and refreshing blend that appeals to a wide range of listeners. This project symbolizes experimentation, introduces country music to new audiences, and encourages collaboration while fostering innovation and growth.

“The joy of creating music is that there are no rules,” Beyoncé says. “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.”

As genre boundaries blur, artists like Beyoncé demonstrate that music is a universal language that transcends labels and categories. By embracing country music, she pays homage to its rich traditions and redefines its future, paving the way for a more inclusive and dynamic musical landscape.

Read ‘Is Country Music Reclaiming Its Black Roots?’

Acknowledge Feeling Unaccepted

Even at her caliber, Beyoncé continues to shed a new layer of vulnerability as she acknowledges the obstacles she still faces in music. In the intro track, “AMERICAN REQUIEM,” she discusses being excluded and discredited in country music. “They used to say I spoke “Too country”/ And the rejection came, said I wasn’t, “Country ‘nough,” she sings. As you rotate the album, several themes emphasize the importance of feeling your emotions and being honest. “Because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive,” she captioned on Instagram. “It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history.”

Storytelling Is The Root

We’ve seen Beyoncé grow as a storyteller throughout the years, but for Cowboy Carter, she’s captured the essence of expanding lyrically. From songs like “Protector” to “Daughter,” she’s curating intentional scenes that feel almost cinematic (yes, we’re still waiting for the visuals). Her ability to ignite the parallels between herself and creative storytelling continues to thrive throughout the project. “My process is that I typically have to experiment,” Beyoncé says. “I enjoy being open to have the freedom to get all aspects of things I love out and so I worked on many songs. I recorded probably 100 songs. Once that is done, I am able to put the puzzle together and realize the consistencies and the common themes, and then create a solid body of work.”

Collaboration Is Key

It was not only important for Beyoncé to venture out for this album through different productions, but she also gathered some memorable collaborations and cameos for this project. “I have a few surprises on the album and have collaborated with some brilliant artists who I deeply respect,” she says. “I hope that you can hear my heart and soul and all the love and passion that I poured into every detail and every sound.” With voiceovers from seasoned veterans like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, they set the backdrop for the foundation of this album. Along with voiceovers, she also highlights a new class of artists like Tanner Adell, Shaboozey, Tiera Kennedy and Reyna Roberts.

Community Matters

In everything she does, Beyoncé is a Southern woman through and through. She constantly highlights her roots and where she comes from. With this, Cowboy Carter, especially, you hear her lean into her ancestral foundation through vocals, instruments, and production. Her tapping into the sounds she truly wanted to experiment with fosters a greater strength in her community and catapults her to greater heights. “This album is so important,” Kennedy captioned. “It will not only change the future of country music but music as a whole and I cannot wait to watch it unfold.”

Genre Is A Barrier

With constant discourse surrounding genre regarding Black artists. Beyoncé adds to the conversation by debunking how genre placement is forced upon musicians. “My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant,” she captioned. Since the announcement of Cowboy Carter, there’s been an array of discourse surrounding the expectations placed on Black artists while limiting them when they try to experiment. “My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist’s race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant,” she says.

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About the Author: Kenyatta Victoria is the lead writer for Essence GU, working on all things pop culture, politics, entertainment and business. Throughout her time at GU, she’s garnered devoted readers and specializes in the Zillennial point of view.

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