“Texas Hold ‘Em” Isn’t Beyoncé’s First Rodeo 

She's the first Black woman to top the Hot Country chart, but she's been experimenting with the genre for years

Beyonce in a cowboy hat
Beyonce shows off her cowboy fashion
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Beyoncé has taken a step further into country music, but her country flair is nothing new.

In a Super Bowl ad for Verizon last weekend, she hinted at the release of a new country album. Now, she riles up the country music community with her new song “Texas Hold ‘Em” debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Charts. Her other, and arguably more moving, country song, “16 Carriages”, takes No. 9 on the chart. Beyoncé makes history with this rank, being the only Black woman to ever hold this title and the first woman ever to top both the Hot Country and Hot R&B/ Hip Hop charts. 

The main debate surrounding this news is whether or not Beyoncé deserves to be considered the nation’s leading country artist. Some country fans refuse to acknowledge her hit as part of the country genre. 

Beyoncé fan Justin Satto shared on X that he requested “Texas Hold ‘Em” at his local radio station, KYKC. He received a rather straightforward email from the station.

“We do not play Beyoncé on KYKC as we are a country music station,” SCORE Broadcasting wrote.

“Texas Hold ‘Em” pays homage to the Southern state several times in the chorus. It’s perhaps the most obvious country song Beyoncé has released, with lyrics talking about dive bars and rugged whiskey. However, this song isn’t Beyonce’s first rodeo. She has incorporated country elements into her music and style throughout her career. 

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Beyoncé’s acclaimed albums Renaissance (2022) and Lemonade (2016) don’t shy away from her Southern roots. She even sits on a gleaming silver stallion in the Renaissance cover art. Her songs “Church Girl” and “Daddy Lessons” discuss growing up in the typical American South, shooting guns and attending church. She even performed “Daddy Lessons” at the 2017 Country Music Awards alongside country legends The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks). 

Beyoncé also rocks cowboy fashion often, with a closet full of cowboy hats, boots, bolo ties and fringes. It even dates back to her days as a member of Destiny’s Child, when the musical group rocked country aesthetics on the red carpet.

In its beginnings, country music heavily focused on working-class America. The genre started in the 1920s, known as “hillbilly music,” which took inspiration from minstrel shows. Minstrel shows became popular entertainment in the 1850s, in which white people dressed in blackface to mock enslaved Black people who expressed themselves through song and dance. According to the Skidmore News, minstrel shows introduced the banjo to white audiences. Hillbilly music became centered around the banjo and later became renamed “country” after WWII. 

Black artists like DeFord Bailey paved the way for country music, and artists like Ray Charles have been crossing over into the genre for decades now. However, white artists dominate country when it comes to accolades and recognition. Beyoncé isn’t the first Black artist to make country music, and she won’t be the last. For now, she reigns the country music charts, holding on to true Texan soul. 

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