Here’s Why Beyoncé’s New Country Album Is Such A Big Deal After Her 2016 Song “Daddy Lessons” Was Snubbed By The Grammy Awards’ Country Music Committee

After Variety tweeted that Beyoncé’s new songs have “strong country influences,” one person replied, “This is reminiscent of Billboard blocking Lil Nas from the country chart.”

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Of all the things that could have gone down at this year’s Super Bowl, Beyoncé surprising us with a new-music announcement was not on my bingo card!

Beyoncé smiling and performing

The artist revealed in an incredible Verizon commercial that she’s going to be dropping Act II — and immediately went on to release two new songs: “Texas Hold ’Em” and “16 Carriages.”

Beyoncé onstage in a billowy gown with a high thigh slit

And while Beyoncé hasn’t yet shared a ton of details about Act II, it seems pretty apparent that it’ll be a country album — something that has long been speculated due to reports and fan theories.

Close-up of Beyoncé in a Western-style hat
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Now, if you’re a fan of Beyoncé's, you’ll know that this isn’t her first rodeo when it comes to producing country music.

Close-up of Beyoncé onstage holding a Grammy

On her 2016 album, Lemonade, Beyoncé, who is from Houston, embraced her Southern roots in her track “Daddy Lessons” — a poignant country song about her dad, Mathew Knowles.

Close-up of Beyoncé at a media event

Later in 2016, fans were surprised when they learned that “Daddy Lessons” hadn’t been nominated in any of the country music categories at the Grammys that year, with an anonymous insider later revealing to the Associated Press that while Beyoncé had submitted the single, it had been rejected by the country music committee — meaning that it was snubbed for a potential Best Country Song or Best Country Solo Performance nomination.

Close-up of Beyoncé onstage

The move sparked huge controversy at the time — something that, sadly, Beyoncé is no stranger to when it comes to the Grammys.

Close-up of Beyoncé performing onstage

With this in mind, several people were quick to speculate that Beyoncé’s upcoming album is her continued way of “reclaiming genres originally rooted in Black music” after her house music album Renaissance — which was the first of a “three-act project” — was released last year.

Close-up of Beyoncé onstage

“So Beyoncé is really out here reclaiming genres originally rooted in Black music. First house, now country, and then rock & roll (rumored) next,” one person said, referring to unverified rumors that Act III will be a rock 'n' roll album. “Act 3 is going to be Rock and Roll. She’s claiming all the music that was once created by Black artist,” someone else guessed.

Close-up of Beyoncé performing onstage

However, fans quickly found themselves defending Beyoncé after a popular tweet shared by Variety noticeably avoided referring to her latest songs as “country music” — something that, sadly, several people had anticipated.

Close-up of Beyoncé at a media event in a gold outfit

Variety tweeted that Beyoncé’s latest releases have “strong country influences,” prompting a heap of backlash, with many fans questioning why they hadn’t just referred to the songs as country. One person replied, “This is a microaggression. Those songs are clearly country, not ‘country influenced.’ Black people BIRTHED country music. Put some respect on it.” While someone else said, “calling it influence is just disrespectful to her southern roots. she has always been a country gworl.. give her the flowers she deserves.”

Close-up of Beyoncé onstage holding an award

And this apparent refusal to refer to Beyoncé’s new music as strictly country quickly reminded fans of the 2019 controversy surrounding Lil Nas X and Billboard.

Close-up of Lil Nas in a pink Western-style hat and outfit

In March 2019, Billboard attracted scrutiny after removing Lil Nas X’s song “Old Town Road” from the Hot Country Songs charts, reportedly informing him that they’d featured him on the list by “mistake.”

Close-up of Lil Nas performing in a Western-style hat and outfit

Billboard also said in a statement that it felt “Old Town Road” did not “merit inclusion” on its country charts. It wrote, “When determining genres, a few factors are examined, but first and foremost is musical composition. While ‘Old Town Road’ incorporates references to country and cowboy imagery, it does not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”

Close-up of Lil Nas holding an award

The move sparked widespread backlash from fans and artists alike, with rapper Ski Mask the Slump God accusing Billboard of “discrimination.”

Looking back on this moment now, several people noted that Variety’s controversial tweet reminded them of the drama with Lil Nas X.

Close-up of Lil Nas at a media event

“This is reminiscent of Billboard blocking Lil Nas from the country chart. Also when the grammy select committee blocked Daddy Lessons from the ballot,” one tweet read. “They gonna do to Beyonce the same thing they did to Lil Nas X with Old Town Road. It’s finna be called everything but country music,” another person tweeted.

Close-up of Lil Nas performing onstage

“Taylor [Swift] was still qualifying for country awards well into her pop era, they bet not act like Beyoncé’s country songs aren’t real country like they did with Old Town Road,” one person tweeted. “Now @billboard - make sure Beyonce ‘qualifies’ for the country charts. We don’t want another Old Town Road situation,” another user said.

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