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Everything to Know About Beyoncé's Collaborators on Cowboy Carter

Credit - Getty Images (10)

Beyoncé’s music always features a long list of collaborators, songwriters, and credits for samples and interpolations. In Renaissance, only two songs had officially credited features, but the credits tell a much deeper story. Her latest album, Cowboy Carter, is no different. The list of collaborators is just as expansive. Multiple songs feature country music acts, including newer ones like Tanner Adell and Shaboozey and legends of the genre, Willie Nelson, Linda Martell, and Dolly Parton. On the technical side, she worked with major hit-making producers like DA Got That Dope, Ryan Tedder, and Pharrell Williams.

The BeyHive started reading the tea leaves on Wednesday afternoon, when Beyoncé uploaded a cryptic tracklist to her social media pages. The track listing “Jolene,” confirmed that Beyoncé used Dolly Parton’s famous song in some way after the country singer told Knox News that Beyoncé recorded a version of her song. Listeners got a taste of what was to come when Beyoncé released the lead singles off the album, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages” in February. She had Rhiannon Giddens playing the banjo and viola on the former and Robert Randolph playing the steel guitar on the latter.


Singer Ryan Beatty revealed he is a songwriter on four Cowboy Carter songs: “Protector,” “Bodyguard,” “Just For Fun,” and “II Hands II Heaven.” In a post he uploaded to Instagram on Friday, he said, “Writing these songs over the last four years has been one of the brightest highlights of my life on earth.”

Renaissance featured a similarly long list of credits as Beyoncé paid homage to the queer Black pioneers of house music. Songs like “COZY” and “Break My Soul” feature the voices of TS Madison and Big Freedia, while “PURE/HONEY” samples tracks from Moi Renee, Kevin Aviance, and Kevin Jz Prodigy. The album uplifted the underrepresented icons who made the genre what it is today. Cowboy Carter, which came out on March 29,  spans across country music, and Beyoncé made sure to not only highlight those who came before her, but uplift newer artists as she pushes the genre’s boundaries into new directions.

Here are all the features, samples, interpolations, prominent songwriters, and producers Beyoncé worked with on Cowboy Carter.

Who is featured on Cowboy Carter?

The album features appearances in the form of spoken word interludes from country music legends Willie Nelson, Linda Martell, and Dolly Parton. The latter had her song “Jolene” covered by Bey, with many of the lyrics changed. Parton is also featured briefly in the intro to “Tyrant.” Nelson joins in as a radio host for two interludes titled “Smoke Hour” and “Smoke Hour II,” whereas Martell is featured on “Spaghettii” and an interlude titled “The Linda Martell Show.” Martell is known as being the first Black female artist to achieve commercial success in the country music genre and made history as the first Black female artist to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. For features, Beyoncé enlisted a diverse set of artists.

Post Malone makes an appearance on a song called “Levii Jeans.” Shaboozey hops on “Spaghettii” and “Sweet Honey Buckin” and Willie Jones is featured on “Just For Fun.”

On the song “Blackbiird,” Bey enlists the help of four young singers—Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy, and Reyna Roberts. Adell had a viral hit with her country/hip hop slammer, “Buckle Bunny.” One of the most surprising additions to the featured artists list is Miley Cyrus, who has no issue harmonizing with Bey on “II Most Wanted.” Following in her sister Blue Ivy’s footsteps, Rumi Carter is featured on the intro of the song “Protector.”

What songs does Beyoncé sample or interpolate on this album?

There are few samples and interpolations spread out across the album. The song “Blackbiird” is a cover of the 1968 song by The Beatles, which Paul McCartney wrote in the summer of that year, inspired by the civil rights movement. He said in a 1997 book written by Barry Miles called Many Years From Now that he wrote this song with a Black woman in mind. He said, “Those were the days of the civil rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about, so this was really a song from me to a Black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: ‘Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.’”

The second cover we hear on Cowboy Carter is “Jolene.” While the essence of the original Dolly Parton song is still there, Beyoncé took some liberties with the lyrics on the new version. She’s much more defensive of her man on the song, adding lines like “I'm warnin' you, woman, find you your own man” and “I’m still a Creole banjee b--ch from Louisianne (Don't try me).”

Later on in the album, we hear Beyoncé interpolate “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys and Nancy Sinatra’s version of “These Boots Are Made For Walking” on the song “YAYA,” sample “Oh Louisiana” by Chuck Berry on the interlude of the same name, and the song “Sweet Honey Buckin’” sees Beyoncé covering Patsy Cline’s 1961 country-pop hit, “I Fall To Pieces.” Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé’s collaboration seemingly interpolates the chord progression of Fleetwood Mac’s 1975 song, “Landslide.” We also hear two songs on Nelson’s “Smoke Hour” interlude: Berry’s “Maybellene,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Down by the River Side” and “Don’t Let Go” by Roy Hamilton.

Write to Moises Mendez II at