Beyoncé Says Cowboy Carter Was Inspired By an “Unwelcoming Experience," Unveils Album Cover

Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment

Ten days before the release of her eighth studio album Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé has unveiled the official album cover and shared new details about her creative process and inspiration behind the country-influenced project.

Last month, Bey dropped the first two singles from the album, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages.” The former went on to break a number of charting records — it became Beyoncé’s ninth solo number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and made her the first Black woman to ever have a number one on the country charts in Billboard history — and stirred controversy, igniting industry debates around genre and race. On March 19, the singer posted the cover for Cowboy Carter across social media and accompanied the reveal with a lengthy caption.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the supporters of TEXAS HOLD ‘EM and 16 CARRIAGES. I feel honored to be the first Black woman with the number one single on the Hot Country Songs chart,” Beyoncé wrote. “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 then went on to share that Cowboy Carter “has been over five years in the making,” and was “born out of an experience” in which she “did not feel welcomed.”

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment</cite>
Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment

“And it was very clear that I wasn't,” said Beyoncé. “But, because of that experience, 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.”

Read More: Oklahoma Country Radio Station Explains Why It Refused to Play Beyoncé

For many fans, this allusion brought to mind one experience in particular: her controversial performance with The Chicks at the 2016 Country Music Association Awards. (Which was eight years ago, to be exact.) At that year's CMAs, Bey performed a mashup of her Lemonade record “Daddy Lessons" with The Chicks and faced intense racist backlash from the ceremony's viewers.

“The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me,” Beyoncé continued in her caption. “Act II is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work.”

Bey ended her statement with the promise of “a few surprises" and collaborations, noting that she made Cowboy Carter as a direct continuation of Renaissance. “This ain’t a Country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album,” she finished.

Beyoncé for Cowboy Carter limited edition exclusive cover vinyls
Beyoncé for Cowboy Carter limited edition exclusive cover vinyls
Courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment (Collage)

Beyoncé first announced Cowboy Carter minutes after appearing in a surprise Verizon commercial for Super Bowl 2024 — at the end of which she declared, “Okay, they ready! Drop the new music!" In a tumbleweed-core trailer posted across all of her socials, the superstar was seen driving a taxi with a Texas license plate along a dusty road, driving by a sign for “Radio Texas," boasting "100,000 watts of healing power.” The camera then panned to a group of men staring up at a massive, busty billboard of a waving Beyoncé, backed by a snippet of “Texas Hold 'Em.”

Beyoncé had been hinting towards the announcement for weeks, wearing extravagant cowboy hats out and about and at the Grammys 2024, and accessorizing her Super Bowl 2024 'fit with a cheekily-placed bolo tie.

Fans have been theorizing a genre shift for Act II since Act I's release in summer 2022, speculating that the singer could pay homage to three historically Black music genres: house (Act I), country (Act II), and potentially rock ‘n roll (Act III).

Cowboy Carter, the highly anticipated and long awaited counterpart to her revolutionary album Renaissance, arrives on March 29, 2024. The Yeehaw Agenda is victorious.

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue

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