Beyoncé hits country four times before 'Texas Hold'em'

Beyoncé once again set the internet ablaze with the release of two new country songs, "Texas Hold 'Em" and "16 Carriages," on February 11, confirming long-standing rumors that she was planning a major genre break Rumors of transformation. Both songs are singles from her upcoming three-act album "Second Act," following 2022's "Renaissance."

Of course, fans were divided over Beyoncé's decision to go country, with some listeners even debating whether "Texas Hold 'Em" was actually a country song. (According to the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it certainly is).

The Houston, Texas native even said so herself in a 2004 interview with Rolling Stone , explaining that her on-stage persona (aka Sasha Fiers) didn't reflect who she really was self.

“I’m really country and would rather not wear shoes, have my hair in a bun, and not wear makeup,” she said. "When I perform, this confidence, this sexiness, whatever it is, it doesn't happen by accident at all."

Since then, Beyoncé has slowly stepped into the world of country, deftly laying the groundwork for her new album. Read on to take a look back at the singer's every trip to country, then top the charts with her own hoe-down anthem.

Sing with Sugarland

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

In 2007, Beyoncé turned her No. 1 hit "Irreplaceable" into a single with the help of American Music Award-winning country duo Sugarland. Singing "Turn Left" in a country accent works just as well - that's actually what it sounds like.

Songwriter Ne-Yo said he originally envisioned "Irreplaceable" as a cross-genre song for the likes of Shania Twain. "I basically just wrote my own version of an R&B country-western song," he told BlackFilm.com in 2007.

Take "Dad Class"

Beyoncé rightly said "yeehaw" with "Daddy Lessons," her first official country song — at least by her definition — on her 2016 album Lemonade . On the track, Bay gave a shout-out to Texas and sang about how her father taught her to avoid men like him, who reportedly cheated on his wife.

However, many in the music industry were hesitant about "Lessons From My Dad" and questioned whether the song was a country song at all. The Recording Academy committee rejected Bay's bid to have the song included in the Grammy's country category, and it wasn't nominated at any country awards shows -- although she performed it at one ceremony.

Perform with the chicks

Beyoncé and the Chicks perform at the 50th Annual Country Music Awards. Los Angeles Picture Group/Disney Universal Entertainment Content/Getty Images

As if "Lessons From Daddy" wasn't country enough, Beyoncé decided to up the ante and record a remix with her fellow Texans, The Chicks. The breakdown of their signature harmonies and newly added banjo fills sample the trio's cover of Darnell Scott's "Long Time Gone," turning the song into a full-blown hoedown anthem. . The two artists later teamed up to perform the song at the 2016 Country Music Awards, angering some in the audience who didn't expect to see Bey at the show.

The backlash reportedly prompted the singer to lean further into country music, starting with some Western visuals on her Renaissance World Tour. "I think she had a really bad experience at the Country Music Awards and she wanted to explore her African-American roots," set designer Es Devlin told British Vogue .

ivy park rodeo

Beyoncé at her Ivy Park Rodeo event. Adidas

Beyoncé hinted at her country focus in the Ivy Park Rodeo, part of her 2021 collection with Adidas. The collection is inspired by the "overlooked history" of black cowboys in American rodeo culture. "Many of them, originally known as cattle ranchers, experienced tremendous discrimination and were often forced to work with the worst, most ill-tempered horses," she wrote for Harper's Bazaar .

She highlighted some of these cowboys, such as actor Glynn Turman, in the series' advertising campaign. Now, the singer continues her mission to showcase the Black roots of the country-western world on her next album, which releases March 29.