Beyonce’s Cowboy Carter Cameos, Samples and Guests, Explained | Us Weekly

March 29, 2024

Beyonce s Cowboy Carter All the Cameos Samples and More
Beyoncé. Mason Poole/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

It’s Beyoncé’s rodeo, and everyone’s invited!

Beyoncé, 42, dropped Cowboy Carter on Friday, March 29, the second installment in the trilogy that began with Renaissance in 2022. The country-flavored album lassoed in stars from all across the music world to help make it one of the year’s biggest pop culture events. From Dolly Parton to Willie Nelson to a handful of up-and-coming Black female country stars, Cowboy Carter is a sonic extravaganza.

It’s also an album that refuses to be fenced in. While including Tierra Kennedy, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts, Tanner Adell, Rhiannon Giddens and the legendary Linda Martell make Cowboy Carter a celebration of Black women’s role in country music, it isn’t just a country album. There are numerous references to the ’60s on Cowboy Carter with the songs the album samples and interpolates. There are nods to Buffalo Springfield, Nancy Sinatra, Patsy Cline, the Beach Boys and the Beatles.

“I focused on this album as a continuation of Renaissance,” Beyoncé wrote in a March 19 Instagram post. “I hope this music is an experience, creating another journey where you can close your eyes, start from the beginning and never stop. This ain’t a Country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album. This is act ii COWBOY CARTER and I am proud to share it with y’all!”

Scroll on to find out about all the cameos, samples and more:

Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”

Cowboy Carter opens with “Ameriican Requiem,” a psychedelic rock song that seemingly interpolates elements of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound).”

The 1966 protest song is known for its chorus of “Stop / Children, what’s that sound? / Everybody look what’s going down.” The song also has a notable opening line, “There’s something happening here,” which Beyoncé seemingly remixes in the chorus of “Ameriican Requiem” when she sings, “It’s a lot of chatter in here / But let me make myself clear.”

The Beatles’ “Blackbird”

The second track on Cowboy Carter is a cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” from the Fab Four’s 1968 self-titled album (best known as the White Album). Here, it’s titled “Blackbiird.” (Songs on Cowboy Carter make use of the double “i” to emphasize how this is the second act of her trilogy project.)

Following Cowboy Carter’s release, Rolling Stone dove into the history behind “Blackbird,” including how Paul McCartney said he wrote the song while watching “the terrible racial tensions in the U.S.” in the late ’60s. He also said that he wrote the lyrics as “a song from me to a Black woman, experiencing these problems in the States.”

Tiera Kennedy, Brittney Spencer, Reyna Roberts and Tanner Adell

Helping Beyoncé deliver the version of “Blackbird” that McCartney envisioned is a host of young Black female country stars: Kennedy, a singer championing “R&B country” and host of The Tiera Show on Apple Music; Spencer, who released her debut album, My Stupid Life, in January; Roberts, who released Bad Girl Bible Vol. 1 in 2023; and Adell, the musician behind the song “Buckle Bunny,” the title track of her 2023 debut album.

Rumi Carter

Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter Rumi has a listed cameo on “Protector.” At the start of the song, the 6-year-old says, “Mom, can I hear the lullaby? Please?”

Willie Nelson

Cowboy Carter has a handful of interstitials that make it seem like the album itself is a broadcast of KNTRY Radio Texas. A trio of country stars appear as radio DJs, the first being Nelson on “Smoke Hour.”

The radio static at the start of the track also has elements of famous Black performers: a clip of Son House’s “Don’t You Mind People Grinnin’ in Your Face,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Down by the Riverside,” Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene” and Roy Hamilton’s “Don’t Let Go.”

Rhiannon Giddens

Giddens is a country and Americana musician who played banjo on “Texas Hold ‘Em.” She is also known for elevating the Black history of the banjo.

Dolly Parton

Cowboy Carter features a cameo from Beyoncé’s fellow icon. The country legend mentions “that hussy with the good hair you sing about,” a reference to the “Becky” Beyoncé mentioned in “Sorry” on 2016’s Lemonade.

“Jolene”

After an appearance by “Dolly P,” Cowboy Carter segues into a cover of Parton’s “Jolene.” However, Beyoncé changes up the chorus and other lyrics throughout the track. Parton’s original had her sing, “I’m begging you, please don’t take my man / Please don’t take him just because you can.”

Beyoncé takes a different approach, saying, “I’m warnin’ you, don’t come for my man / Don’t take the chance because you think you can.”

Linda Martell

One of the most notable cameos on Cowboy Carter is by Martell, the country star who has the distinction of being the first commercially successful Black female country music artist. Martell was also the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry.

Beyonce s Cowboy Carter All the Cameos Samples and More
Linda Martell. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Martell makes two cameos on Cowboy Carter. The first is in the intro to “Spaghettii,” in which she reflects on how “genres are a funny little concept, aren’t they? In theory, they have a simple definition that’s easy to understand. But in practice, some may feel confined.” Her second appearance comes on the interstitial “The Linda Martell Show,” which appears just before the song “Ya Ya.”

Shaboozey

Martell’s intro to “Spaghettii” notes the introduction of Cowboy Carter’s hip-hop elements. Beyoncé showcases her rapping skills with some help from Shaboozey. The Nigerian American singer is known for playing with genre, bridging hip-hop and country. He released his debut album, Lady Wrangler, in 2018 and the follow-up Cowboys Live Forever, Outlaws Never Die in 2022. His third album, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going, arrives on May 31.

Beyonce s Cowboy Carter All the Cameos Samples and More
Shaboozey. Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Dream Hotels

Willie Jones

“Just for Fun” kicks off a run of cameos on Cowboy Carter. This track features Jones, an artist who mixes traditional country sounds with hip-hop. The Shreveport, Louisiana, native joins Beyoncé on the chorus of the song, according to Genius.

Miley Cyrus

On “II Most Wanted,” Beyoncé teams up with the former Hannah Montana star to deliver a tenderhearted outlaw anthem. Variety notes that this song interpolates Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”

Beyonce s Cowboy Carter All the Cameos Samples and More
Miley Cyrus. Timothy Norris/FilmMagic

Post Malone

“Levii’s Jeans” furthers the connection between Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, courtesy of Post Malone. The song features the “Circles” singer, who also appears on Swift’s upcoming album, The Tortured Poets Department. Malone is also prepping his own country album.

“These Boots Are Made For Walking” and “Good Vibrations”

“Ya Ya” interpolates Sinatra’s 1966 hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin.” The song’s signature bass line radiates throughout the track. Later on in “Ya Ya,” Bey sings part of the Beach Boys’ 1966 hit “Good Vibrations.”

“Oh Louisiana”

On Cowboy Carter, Beyoncé includes a sped-up version of Chuck Berry’s 1971 song “Oh Louisiana.” The interlude may spark further speculation that the third and final act in the trilogy project will be a rock album. Renaissance was Beyoncé’s celebration of the Black artists who created and proliferated the house music genre, while Cowboy Carter pays homage to Black artists in country. Berry, who died in 2017 at age 90, pioneered rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s alongside artists like Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Ike Turner, Etta James and Equerita.

Beyonce s Cowboy Carter All the Cameos Samples and More
Chuck Berry. Frans Schellekens/Redferns

“I Fall to Pieces”

Beyoncé pays homage to the late Patsy Cline by singing her hit “I Fall to Pieces” at the start of “Sweet Honey Buckiin,” Cowboy Carter’s penultimate song.


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