What Is The Meaning Of 'Cowboy Carter' Beyoncé's Latest Album

5 April 2024, 17:11 | Updated: 5 April 2024, 17:13

Beyoncé's upcoming album is named 'Cowboy Carter'
Beyoncé's upcoming album is named 'Cowboy Carter'. Picture: Getty/X: @beyoncepress

By Tiasha Debray

Beyoncé's new album is named ‘Cowboy Carter’ but what does it mean? Why did she call her album that?

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Beyoncé's album ‘Cowboy Carter’ was released on the 29th of March and people are wondering what the meaning is behind the name.

‘Cowboy Carter’ is Act II of the three-part album series that Beyoncé announced back when ‘Renaissance’ was released in 2022. Whilst a few fans have shared their discontent online at the new title, labelling it ‘basic,’ the name may have a deeper meaning than these listeners realise.

Beyoncé's entire brand has been about black excellence as she empowers and educates people about the history and plight of African American people. So it's fair to assume that we should expect that it's these sorts of themes that are important in 'Cowboy Carter.'

So what is the meaning of ‘Cowboy Carter’ and why the name Cowboy Carter? Here’s what we know.

‘Cowboy Carter’ is Act II of the three-part album series
‘Cowboy Carter’ is Act II of the three-part album series. Picture: Getty

At first glance, the name “Cowboy Carter” seemed to be a reference to Beyoncé’s married name.

After marrying Jay Z in 2008, she changed her name to the hyphenated Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and she’s used this name in this fashion before.

In 2013 her tour was called the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour and at the start of her song ‘Partition’, you can hear Beyoncé telling a crowd, “Let me hear you say, “Hey, Miss Carter.”

This may be what fans have been referring to as ‘basic’ from Beyoncé, perhaps they were hoping for something a little fresher.

However, after some digging, it appears that maybe there’s a deeper meaning to her choices.

Beyoncé's entire brand is about black excellence
Beyoncé's entire brand is about black excellence. Picture: Getty

The Carter Family were a traditional American country and folk music group active between 1927 to 1956. The white American family have since been dubbed “The First Family of Country Music” and were incredibly popular during their time.

Their fresh take on country music popularised it at the time and more specifically, a woman named Maybelle Carter created a signature strumming technique now called The Carter Scratch. This sound soon became a staple in a lot of country music songs at the time.

However apparently, Maybelle didn’t come up with this technique herself. The woman found herself crossing paths with Lesley Riddle, a talented black man who had developed the same guitar scratching technique and it’s allegedly through him that Maybelle found her signature sound.

The Carter Family were a traditional American country and folk music group
The Carter Family were a traditional American country and folk music group. Picture: Getty

Lesley went on to work alongside the Carter family, helping them discover and cover local songs. Unfortunately, this often involved taking songs from black families in black neighbourhoods and capitalising on them with no share given to the original creators.

The Carter family owed a lot of their success to Lesley Riddle and the Black and Mexican community and this was not an uncommon story during the time country music began to explode in America.

TikTok user and Beyoncé fan @beysus.christ published an in-depth TikTok explaining how this history might have influenced Beyoncé’s decision when it came to naming her album.

The video creator used this history to make an educated guess on what she believes ‘Cowboy Carter’ will be about, “I think that act 2 is going to be a lot of reclaiming where country music came from,” she says in the video.

This sounds accurate and definitely in line with Beyoncé’s brand and what she’s about.

‘Renaissance’ being the first installment of this series, represented the Black queer community with club and house music. The title was an ode to The Harlem Renaissance which was specifically the cultural revival of African American creative excellence in the 1920s.

Beyonce posted on Instagram 10 days before her album was released, explaining her thought process behind the album

She wrote This album has been over five years in the making. It was born out of an experience that I had years ago where I did not feel welcomed…and it was very clear that I wasn’t. But, because of that experience, I did a deeper dive into the history of Country music and studied our rich musical archive."

"It feels good to see how music can unite so many people around the world, while also amplifying the voices of some of the people who have dedicated so much of their lives educating on our musical history."

"The criticisms I faced when I first entered this genre forced me to propel past the limitations that were put on me. act ii is a result of challenging myself, and taking my time to bend and blend genres together to create this body of work."

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