The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The ‘Beyonce Effect’: Beyonce’s Impact on Music and the Revolutionary ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album


Known today to the world as Beyonce Knowles-Carter, the iconic singer was born Beyonce Giselle Knowles, to her parents, Tina and Mathew Knowles. 


Beyonce is originally from Houston, Texas, and her parents have strong familial ties to southern states such as Louisiana and Alabama.


Beyonce has been a household name in the U.S. since her rise to fame with the girl group Destiny’s Child in the 1990s before she struck out on her own in a solo career. 


Since becoming a mononymous artist, Beyonce has come out with hard-hitting albums such as ‘Dangerously in Love’ (2003), ‘4’ (2011), ‘Beyonce’ (2013) and the groundbreaking ‘Lemonade’ (2016). 


The Grammy award-winning artist is no stranger to breaking through glass ceilings. 


When the self-titled album, ‘Beyonce’, came out, she surprised fans and music companies by dropping the collection of songs at midnight, on Friday, December 13, 2013. 


Before the album went public, Beyonce didn’t release any visuals or promotional materials to aid the body of work in its release. 


This behavior was unusual because most musicians released new music on Tuesdays, this made it easier for music distribution services to dole out music around the world.


Since 2013, creatives like Drake, Taylor Swift, and J.Cole have tried to replicate ‘Queen Bey’s’ strategy.


Members of the ‘Beyhive’ and pop culture outlets credit her with changing the structure of the music industry with her bold ideas.


Beyonce’s music transcends genres and challenges the strict box that critics squeeze Black singers into. Audiences label her music as R&B/Soul, but Beyonce has been sure to remind us that she won’t settle for any box people try to push her into.


Beyonce’s music may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but students on campus who listened to the album had only glowing praises to share.


Freshman, computer science student, Ariana Phillips, stated, “…I felt a duty to support Cowboy Carter because Black people deserve to be able to explore every genre we’ve pioneered. Beyonce did a phenomenal job at integrating her style into a genre of music that Black people have been denied access to for so long. I love the saying, “It’s not a country album; it’s a Beyonce album.””


In the song, ‘Spaghetti’, Linda Martell joins Beyonce and sparks a conversation, saying, “Genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they?”


This creates commentary because when a Black musician wants to explore a music space other than Rap, R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, or Gospel, audiences don’t know how to label them.


Phillips continued, saying, “Similar to ‘Renaissance’, Beyonce allowed ‘Cowboy Carter’ to break out of the many constraints placed upon Black women in the music industry. She blended tones of country, R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop, and Pop in a unique way without losing the Beyonce feel.”

The album ‘Cowboy Carter’ broke numerous barriers, providing a spotlight for different generations of Black country artists.


Some country newcomers of note are Shaboozey, Reyna Roberts, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, and Tanner Adell.


The ‘Alligator Tears’ singer additionally pays tribute to country pioneers of old, such as Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, Linda Martell, and Dolly Parton.


It seemed pivotal that Beyonce pulled upon African Americans’ rich history within the country genre as she was creating this album. 


Lauren Joseph, a junior, professional theatre and performing arts student, agreed that Cowboy Carter celebrated the contributions of Black people in the Country genre. 


Joseph told the A&T Register, “Beyonce is providing a homecoming for the Country genre as a whole. Black people invented country music…so much has been taken from Black artists in that genre and we are finally getting our praise for it publicly. She knows her footprint on the industry and used her platform in a great way.”


In ‘Smoke Hour’ with Willie Nelson, the first few songs heard are by Black artists, like Rosetta Tharpe and Chuck Berry, both known for combining genres in their music. 


Berry’s song, ‘Maybellene’ is a mix of country and blues. (Widely recognized as one of the first rock and roll songs to be produced.) 


In ‘Ya Ya’, Beyonce references the ‘Chitlin Circuit’, which were entertainment venues that were declared safe for Black musicians to perform in, in the rural south– a secret code to show that Black people were welcome


In ‘Sweet Honey Buckin’, she samples the song, ‘I Fall to Pieces’ by Patsy Cline– one of the first female solo artists inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and a pioneer in the act of combining country and pop music. 


This is an additional example of the genre crossover theme that Beyonce incorporates into ‘Cowboy Carter’.


Beyonce’s 8th studio album allowed her to become the first Black woman to debut at Number 1 on Billboard’s top country album charts, with the song ‘Texas Hold ’Em’. 


‘Cowboy Carter’ amassed 407,000 equivalent album units sold and songs streamed in the United States.


The horse Beyonce is pictured on the album cover is a rare breed, called a lipizzan. This horse is special and Beyonce’s depiction of it is even more layered because Lipizzans are born with a black coat that gradually lightens to a bright white/gray color.


Some think this hinted at the Whitewashing of Country music, which was created by African Americans, dating back to the slavery era. 


Black people have been erased from the Country scene for far too long, and Beyonce is sending the message that we want our power back. 


‘Cowboy Carter’ was released on March 29th and became Spotify’s most streamed album in one day this year. ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Cowboy Carter’ are only Acts I and II in the 3 Act album saga Beyonce has promised to her fans. 


What genre do you think Beyonce will reclaim next?


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