Beyoncé becomes first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country songs chart with Texas Hold ‘Em

Singer Beyonce Knowles poses for pictures at a press conference where she announced her partnership with General MillsÕ Hamburger Helper (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)

Beyoncé is the first Black woman to claim the top spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Her track “Texas Hold ‘Em” debuted at No. 1.

Released alongside the surprise album announcement during the Super Bowl, “Texas Hold ‘Em” is Beyoncé’s inaugural triumph on the country charts. This achievement is part of several historic milestones in the weekly chart rankings refreshed on Tuesday.

In addition to this feat, Beyoncé also becomes the second solo female artist, without any featured collaborators, to debut at No. 1. Taylor Swift previously achieved this in 2021 with her re-recordings of “Love Story” and “All Too Well.”

Moreover, Beyoncé is the first woman to lead both the Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts since their inception in 1958. Joining a select group of artists, including Justin Bieber, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ray Charles, and Morgan Wallen, she has made her mark on both charts.

The Hot Country Songs chart, a “multi-metric” chart, factors in US sales, streams, and radio airplay, similar to Billboard’s primary Hot 100 chart.

Tuesday’s charts, reflecting data from the seven days leading up to February 15th, highlight Beyoncé’s swift ascent to the top, as “Texas Hold ‘Em,” released on February 11th, secured its position after just four days of tracking.

In that time, it was streamed 19.2m times and downloaded 39,000 times in the US, according to entertainment data company Luminate. It debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 chart, whereas the superstar’s other new track 16 Carriages debuted at No. 38 on the Hot 100 and No. 9 on Hot Country Songs.

Both singles will appear on Beyoncé’s second instalment of her Renaissance trilogy, set for release on 29 March.

The country chart achievements come after an online firestorm last week around Texas Hold ‘Em’s categorisation as a country track.

A country radio station in Oklahoma initially declined to play a request for Beyoncé’s new single, though they later changed their tune after a viral campaign on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The station said that they hadn’t yet been served the file for the track from Beyoncé’s label when they received the request. Texas Hold ‘Em is now officially being promoted to country radio, according to Billboard.

The song has become Beyoncé’s first appearance on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, where it debuted at No. 54. Unlike Hot Country Songs, Country Airplay measures only radio play.

Country music’s relationship to Black artists has often sparked debate. In a high-profile example from 2019, rapper Lil Nas X’s viral country-trap fusion Old Town Road was removed from Billboard’s Hot Country Songs after it topped the chart.

Chart compilers claimed it wasn’t country enough – despite its banjo instrumentation and lyrical content about horse riding.

“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,” Billboard wrote at the time.

In 2016, Beyoncé’s heavily country-inspired track Daddy Lessons was rejected by the Recording Academy’s country music committee, making it ineligible for country Grammys.