Representatives for the Recording Academy and Beyoncé did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.
Beyoncé has long been considered a pop artist, a label that can encompass all sorts of genres. But on “Lemonade,” the megastar goes even further to break strict category conventions as she moves from one sound to the next.
The album’s recent Grammy nominations showcase its sonic scope: “Don’t Hurt Yourself” features Jack White and was nominated for best rock performance; “Freedom,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, is up for best rap/sung performance; “Hold Up” garnered her a best pop solo performance nomination; and “Lemonade,” up for album of the year, is also a contender for best urban contemporary album.
The single “Daddy Lessons” begins with clapping, horns and a strumming guitar as Beyoncé repeats the word “Texas,” her home state. The lyrics reference the Second Amendment and no-good men, and the accompanying video (part of her visual album), shows men riding horses in the countryside.
“With his gun, with his head held high/He told me not to cry,” she sings in the chorus. “Oh, my daddy said shoot/Oh, my daddy said shoot/With his right hand on his rifle/He swore it on the bible.”
So how does a song get nominated? According to the Recording Academy, academy members and record companies submit recordings for consideration. The submissions get screened by more than 350 experts in various fields through review sessions “to make sure that each entry is eligible and placed in its proper category.”
Voting members then nominate the submissions through first-round ballots. They’re told to vote “only in their area of expertise,” and can vote in up to 15 categories of the same genre, as well as the big four general awards.
If submitted and accepted, “Daddy Lessons” could have been eligible for a best country solo performance Grammy and a best country song Grammy.
The song has proved controversial before, including at this year’s Country Music Association Awards. Beyoncé performed “Daddy Lessons” on air alongside the Dixie Chicks, who had been covering it on tour.
Various websites reported that the CMAs had scrubbed any mention of the acts from its official site and social-media channels after the performance received racist and angry social-media comments. TMZ said executives were concerned about the musicians’ support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Dixie Chicks, who have had their own tumultuous relationship with the country industry, responded in kind:
But a CMA spokesman denied that mentions of the performance were erased, saying that prior to the broadcast, an unapproved, five-second promotional clip was removed from ABC.com and the CMA Facebook page. “Beyoncé’s performance with Dixie Chicks was a highlight of the evening and we are continuing to share the amazing full-length performance clip via our official social channels,” the statement continued.
CMAs CEO Sarah Trahern also “denied that any nefarious deleting had taken place,” telling the New York Times that they had been waiting for Beyoncé’s team to approve posting other images and video of the performance.
Still, the blowback highlighted the previous — and ongoing — debate as to whether Beyoncé’s “Daddy Lessons” is a country song.
After the release of “Lemonade,” CMT writer Alison Bonaguro wrote that people have rushed to label the song as country because it has “some yee-haws, a little harmonica and mentions of classic vinyl, rifles and whiskey… If you ask me, this song is no more country than her ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).'”
“The song does have a message that might be considered country — almost like Miranda Lambert’s ‘Gunpowder & Lead’ or ‘Kerosene’ — so that much I get,” Bonaguro wrote. “But that’s it. It doesn’t sound like a country song to me, she didn’t cut it at a studio in Tennessee, and it certainly wasn’t written by a group of Nashville songwriters.”
Blake Shelton has defended the song against critics who’ve said it’s not country. Dierks Bentley and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild also said it qualified.
“There is just something intangible about it that it feels like a country song,” Bentley said in May. “It’s not just choruses that are catchy and verses that could be intermixed anywhere as some pop songs are. It’s a real story that she tells about what’s going on in her life growing up.”
Taste of Country declared that it fit the genre and, although not traditional, it “wouldn’t be out of place at contemporary county radio,” and the chorus “could just as easily come from a new song from Miranda Lambert or Carrie Underwood.”
“Daddy Lessons” co-writer Kevin Cossom told Billboard that the song was about a girl who grew up tough, with a father who “didn’t want nobody to take advantage of her.”
“It painted a country picture in our minds. It sounded tough. ‘So my daddy said shoot.’ You see the whiskey on the table. You see the rifle. It just had that feel to it,” he said. “It didn’t take the hip-hop element to make it tough, which I think is very cool especially for Beyoncé. And it goes with her being from Texas.”
If Beyoncé wins wins eight of the nine Grammys she’s already nominated for this year, she will be the winningest female musician in Grammy history. The current record of 27 Grammys is held by Alison Krauss — a country musician.