this 'Cowboy Carter' TikTok theory explains Beyonce's album name

This Cowboy Carter TikTok Theory Could Explain Beyoncé’s Album Name

OK, now I'm into this title.

Everybody say, “Hey, Mrs. Cowboy Carter” — the face of Beyoncé’s upcoming country album. When she first released her two lead singles, “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “16 Carriages,” she hadn’t yet announced the album’s title. That silence led fans to create their own would-be titles, but Beyoncé calmed the chatter once she revealed it’s called Cowboy Carter. At first, many people believed that to be a reference to her married last name. While that isn’t a farfetched idea, a new TikTok theory points at another famous Carter lineage.

On March 13, TikTok user @beysus.christ (also known as Debbie) speculated the album’s title might be an ode to a band named the Carter Family. According to Rolling Stone, the band — comprised of members A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and his sister-in-law Maybelle — rose to prominence in the 1930s for their country folk sound. Specifically, Maybelle left an impression on audiences, and the genre as a whole, with her style of guitar playing.

Maybelle’s credited for creating the Carter Scratch, which NPR describes as “playing harmony and rhythm” with a certain hand technique on the guitar. While she’s known for popularizing that finger lick, it’s important to know she didn’t exactly create it. Debbie (as with NPR) noted that Maybelle learned the scratch technique from Lesley Riddle, a Black guitarist A.P. Carter traveled and worked with at the time.

In their travels, Lesley and A.P. reportedly visited Black and Mexican neighborhoods in the South to hand-pick certain melodies to use in the band’s music. Debbie noted A.P. never compensated those they profited off of — yet, the Carter Family’s creations went on to become massive hits on the radio. Interestingly, this erasure speaks to the theory that Beyoncé’s trilogy of albums is a reclamation of sounds that have ties to Black culture.

That’s not all, though. Elsewhere, fans on X (formerly known as Twitter) have speculated that Cowboy Carter is connected to Amon G. Carter, who reportedly founded Dallas’ newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in 1906. He’s also credited in building the image of the Texas cowboy. Black Texans have deep roots in cowboy culture, and Beyoncé has honored their forgotten presence in her career.

Beyoncé hasn’t confirmed the exact meaning behind Cowboy Carter. However, it would be intriguing to see the singer detail country’s complex history in the album’s sound.