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Giddy Up: Beyoncé’s Country Opus ‘Cowboy Carter’ Is Here

The album Beyoncé has said was five years in the making has arrived

Cowboy Carter just rolled into town. Beyoncé‘s debut country album has arrived featuring the tone-setting singles “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em,” plus a long list of country collaborators including Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton.

The monumental album marks the continuation of a three-act trilogy Beyoncé launched with Renaissance in 2022. She first kicked off the era during the 2024 Super Bowl in February when she made a rare promotional appearance in a Verizon commercial and followed it up with the surprise release of both lead singles. Despite the album’s swift arrival, Beyoncé has been cooking up Cowboy Carter for years.

Beyoncé’s history with country runs deep, but this project in particular was largely rooted in her experience feeling shut out of the genre. “This album has been over five years in the making,” the musician shared in a statement ahead of the album’s arrival. “It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed … and it was very clear that I wasn’t.” She was seemingly addressing the backlash to her appearance with the Chicks at the 2016 CMA Awards, where she performed the country deep cut “Daddy Lessons” from Lemonade.

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The performance sparked outrage in Nashville and culminated in controversial conversations about her place in country as a Black woman. But across Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé highlights the history of country music with a winking reminder that it is an unmistakably Black genre. One track on the album, “The Linda Martell Show,” puts a spotlight on the first Black female solo artist to play the Grand Ole Opry, whose promising country career was plagued and ultimately cut short by racism from both audiences and executives.

“I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive. 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,” Beyoncé wrote. “The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me. Act ii is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work.”

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