4 Times Beyoncé Went Country Before “Texas Hold ‘Em”

The singer said that she’s “really very country” back in 2004.

THE 50th ANNUAL CMA AWARDS - The 50th Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood...
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Beyoncé broke the internet (again) on Feb. 11 when she dropped two new country songs, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” which confirmed longtime rumors that she was planning a major genre pivot. Both tracks are singles from her upcoming album, “act ii” of her three-act project, following 2022’s Renaissance.

Naturally, fans are divided over Beyoncé’s decision to go country, with some listeners even debating whether “Texas Hold ‘Em” is really a country song. (According to Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Charts, it most certainly is).

The Houston, Texas native even said it herself in a 2004 interview with Rolling Stone, explaining that her onstage persona (aka Sasha Fierce) didn’t reflect her true self.

“I’m really very country and would rather have no shoes on and have my hair in a bun and no makeup,” she said. “When I perform, this confidence and this sexiness and this whatever it is that I’m completely not just happens.”

Since then, Beyoncé has slowly planted her feet step-by-step into the country world, subtly setting up the foundation for her new album. Read on to revisit every time that the singer went country before topping the charts with her own hoedown throwdown anthem.

Singing With Sugarland

Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland perform with Beyoncé at the 2007 American Music Awards on November 18, 2007 in Los Angeles, California.Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In 2007, Beyoncé turned her number-one hit “Irreplaceable” into a hoedown with the assistance of country duo Sugarland at the American Music Awards. “To the left” is just as effective when sung in a country accent — and that’s actually how it was meant to sound.

Songwriter Ne-Yo said that he first envisioned “Irreplaceable” as a genre crossover song for the likes of Shania Twain. “I just basically did my version of how an R&B, country-western song would sound like in my opinion,” he told in 2007.

Making “Daddy Lessons”

Beyoncé properly said “yeehaw” on her 2016 album Lemonade with “Daddy Lessons,” her first official country song — at least by her definition. On the track, Bey gives Texas a shout-out and sings about how her father taught her to avoid men like himself, who reportedly cheated on his wife.

However, many in the music industry met “Daddy Lessons” with hesitation, and questioned whether the song was country at all. The Recording Academy’s committee rejected Bey’s submission of the song into the Grammys’ country categories, and it wasn’t nominated at any country award show — though she was performed it at one.

Performing With The Chicks

Beyoncé and The Chicks performing at The 50th Annual Country Music Awards. Image Group LA/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

As if “Daddy Lessons” wasn’t country enough, Beyoncé decided to up the ante by recording a remix with her fellow Texans, The Chicks. Their signature harmonies and a newly added banjo-filled breakdown, which sampled the trio’s cover of Darnell Scott’s “Long Time Gone,” turned the song into a full-blown hoedown. The artists then joined forces to perform it at the 2016 Country Music Awards, outraging some viewers who didn’t expect to see Bey at the show.

The backlash reportedly inspired the singer to lean further into country, starting with some of the Western visuals of her Renaissance World Tour. “I think she had had a really bad experience at a country music award show, and she wanted to research its African-American roots,” stage designer Es Devlin told British Vogue.

Ivy Park Rodeo

Beyoncé in her Ivy Park Rodeo campaign. Adidas

Beyoncé hinted at her country pivot with one of her 2021 collections with Adidas, Ivy Park Rodeo. The drop was inspired by “the overlooked history” of Black cowboys in American rodeo culture. “Many of them were originally called cowhands, who experienced great discrimination and were often forced to work with the worst, most temperamental horses,” she wrote for Harper’s Bazaar.

She spotlighted some of those cowboys, like actor Glynn Turman, in the collection’s ad campaign. Now, the singer continues her mission of showcasing the Black roots of the country-western world on her next album, out March 29.