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Shaboozey fans talk ‘Tipsy,’ Beyoncé and country music at sold-out show

Shaboozey now has one of the best selling country songs in the U.S. And while his tenacity over the years and unique sound has garnered a number of fans, many of those who attended his sold-out show in Nashville say Beyoncé was a huge catalyst for their discovery. And it’s clear they are excited to witness the impact of his legacy for other Black country artists.

The “Cowboy Carter” collaborator packed out the Basement East on Monday with some fans excited to learn more of his music, others in anticipation of their favorite song from his past albums, and everyone waiting to hear his smash hit “A Bar Song (Tipsy).

His upcoming album “Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going” is out May 31. Of course, Shaboozey is featured on “Spaghettii” and “Sweet Honey Buckin‘” from Beyoncé’s highly acclaimed album “Cowboy Carter.”

Last month, his ubiquitous single, which interpolates the throwback No. 1 rap song “Tipsy” by J-Kwon, replaced Beyoncé’s “Texas Hold ‘Em” as the No. 1 song on Billboard’s Hot Country chart. This feat marked the first time in history two Black artists have led the chart back-to-back.

“Well, I found out about Shaboozey from listening to Beyoncé’s album, and I fell in love. So, I found out he had a show in Nashville, and I bought a ticket,” says Harper Vaden, 25, as she waited in line to enter the show Monday night.

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Shaboozey performs at the Basement East in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, May 20, 2024.

The Nigerian-American crossover artist released his fist single back in 2014 and has been working hard over the years. And while his ballooning career cannot be solely attributed to the Queen Bey features, the impact and consequential spotlight is undeniable with folks all over becoming instant fans.

“I had heard of him because of ‘A Bar Song’ on TikTok, and it was everywhere,” says Cameron Smiley, 21. “And after looking into it further, I saw that he was featured on Beyoncé’s (album) and so I was like, OK, good for him.”

Smiley came to the show with her friend, Faith Cleveland, 25, who heard about him from her sister and was blown away by his recent features and music.

“My sister been talking about him for about like a year, but I hadn’t really like listened to that much of his music, just a few of the popular ones,” Cleveland says. “Now, the ‘Bar Song’ is everywhere, and I actually hadn’t heard it before Beyoncé’s record. … So I found him on Apple Music, and I’ve been listening to his stuff.”

Shaboozey performs at the Basement East in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, May 20, 2024.

Of course, there were many long-term fans who had been listening to his music over the last few years, and they seemed to be equally excited about this moment for him and other Black country artists.

“I saw he had a show at The End and was sold out,” said Maria Urias, 25. “And whenever he came to the Basement East and there were more tickets, I finally could go because I’ve been listening to him for like two years now. And I know he like just blew up, too. So I feel like it’s gonna be really good.”

Like many other folks at the show, Urias considers herself a country music fan and discovered him on a Spotify playlist.

However, beyond his unique blend of country and hip-hop music, Shaboozey’s success falls into a bigger picture in regards to representation and Black artists within the genre.

Fans attend Shaboozey show at Basement East in Nashville

“I’ve always been a country music fan growing up in Nashville, and also just having a deep love for artists of color within the genre because of the historical background and the lack of recognition within the genre, and in Nashville specifically,” says Jazmin Garrett, 25, as she waited to be scanned into the venue.

Of course, Black artists have been making strides and contributing to country music since its inception. However, especially with “Cowboy Carter,” there has been a recent spotlight on Black artists who have paved the way and those making their mark within the genre.

“I feel like I already listened to like a good bit of country before (Shaboozey),” says Vaden. “But now I’ve definitely listened to basically every single artist that (Beyoncé) featured on her album.”

As far as listening to other Black country artists, Vaden says, “I didn’t know about a lot (of them) until Beyoncé’s album and when people started promoting them. Before it was like Carrie Underwood, Dixie Chicks … now my algorithm (is filled with) Beyoncé and Black country … so I make sure I go check them out and see if there’s something that I like.”

Shaboozey performs at the Basement East in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, May 20, 2024.

She emphasized, “I don’t think it made me listen to more country because I’ve always listened to country but definitely Black country artists.” 

During his set, the “Annabelle” singer was sure to acknowledge fans from decades ago and those who may have just started listening. He appears to be tapping into a world that makes many fans feel seen.

Shaboozey performs at the Basement East in Nashville, Tenn., Monday, May 20, 2024.

A Nashville-based rapper who goes by the name of Jdough Blay was amongst fans who came in support of Shaboozey.

“I feel like country and rap are kind of starting to ease their way into each other,” he says. “So it’s cool because you come to Nashville and don’t expect to see much of the hip hop scene but there really is one and there’s a lot of cool people doing music here.”

Follow Caché McClay, the USA TODAY Network’s Beyoncé Knowles-Carter reporter, on InstagramTikTok and X as @cachemcclay.

Sourced From Nigerian Music

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