Notably hailing from Houston, Beyoncé has conquered many different types of music and has never been shy or apprehensive about stepping out of her comfort zone. After lightly dipping her toes in the genre a few years ago with the release of “Daddy’s Lessons,” from her 2016 masterpiece Lemonade, Beyoncé has decided to immerse herself in the contemporary soundscape of country music.

During that same year, she performed the song alongside The Chicks (then known as the Dixie Chicks) at the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards to a lackluster reception. The consensus from the country music establishment was that someone as ubiquitous and popular as Beyoncé couldn’t participate in the genre, which has historically been niche and predominantly white.

Upon dropping her new record, Cowboy Carter, she vehemently combats the thought that she doesn’t belong by cultivating her modern-day rendition of country music. Going against stereotypical notions, Beyoncé has infused myriad genres into this record with country at its forefront. There’s hip-hop. There’s blues. There’s soul. There’s rock. The advent of this project illustrates another dimension of her artistry that is just as refreshing as it is riveting to absorb. On a deeper level, it’s a courageous declaration of her limitless range as a Black musician. 

From the very onset, she makes a bold proclamation on the intro track, “Ameriican Requiem,” that “now is the time to face the wind,” which she does, taking full and direct aim at all the naysayers and doubters that have dared to question her aptitude as a country artist.

Doubling down on her exploration of uncharted terrain as she pursued the emergence of her last record, Renaissance, taking a dive into house and dance music like never before, she takes the opportunity to ingratiate herself into the rhythms and sounds of her upbringing and Southern roots with Cowboy Carter

On Feb. 24, she made history by reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em,” the dual lead single with “16 Carriages” from the album. Foreshadowing the record’s impending success, Beyoncé has established that there aren’t any enclaves in music that she can’t occupy. 

Replete with signature serenading vocals and feel-good instrumentation, listeners get authentic music without extra frills or gimmicks.

Most tracks feature traditional country instruments, such as acoustic guitar, fiddle, accordion, banjo and piano. The album also incorporates modern elements such as 808s, snares, rimshots, cymbals, drums, and more in the spirit of transformation and takes the genre to higher heights. These elements bolster the listening experience and can transport the listener to a different world, which isn’t foreign to the Houston icon.

Conceptually, Beyoncé presents Cowboy Carter as a radio broadcast delivered by a fictional station, KNTRY Radio Texas. Some of the radio’s hosts include country music legends Dolly Parton, Linda Martell and Willie Nelson. 

Regarding features, Beyoncé uses her world-renowned platform to shine a light on the genre across the board. Some of the fellow acts on the record include Miley Cyrus, Post Malone, Shaboozey, Willie Jones, Tanner Adell, The-Dream, Jon Batiste, Pharrell Williams, Stevie Wonder, Sounwave, Tyler Johnson, Paul McCartney, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, Reyna Roberts and others.

Whether amplifying lesser-known artists or teaming up with fellow luminaries, Beyoncé uses her powers to uplift everyone.

In terms of sonic soundscape, there’s a vibrant dichotomy between the project’s first and second halves, with something on this record for everyone. The first half of the record features more serene, calmer tracks like “Blackbiird,” “16 Carriages,” “Bodyguard” and “Jolene.” If you’re seeking a more upbeat vibe, there’s “Riiverdance,” “Ya Ya,” “Desert Eagle” and “Sweet ★ Honey ★ Buckiin’.”

The record is a bold homage to her roots as a proud Houstonian and to the under-recognized past of Black cowboy culture.

“I grew up going to the Houston rodeo every year,” Beyoncé said during an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2021. “It was this amazing diverse and multicultural experience where there was something for every member of the family, including great performances, Houston-style fried Snickers, and fried turkey legs.” 

She continued, “One of my inspirations came from the overlooked history of the American Black cowboy. Many of them were originally cowhands, who experienced great discrimination and were often faced to work with the worst, temperamental horses. They took their talents and formed the Soul Circuit. Through time, these Black rodeos showcased incredible performers and helped us reclaim our place in western society and culture.”

Dedicated to making the genre accessible for all, Cowboy Carter breaks down the historical walls of exclusivity, expanding beyond the parameters of a singular dimension with evident passion and reverence for the country music genre. 

Across the spectrum, Beyoncé has executed her official foray into country music while still being able to maintain the central essence of why we love her so much.

If you’ve never been a fan of past versions of the genre, this record harnesses more than enough power to make you a believer.