Titans of Industry

Bow Down, Chickens: Beyoncé Reps Frenchy's in New Songs

Houston's favorite son -- you didn't know Beyoncé is also known as King B? -- has been getting plenty of attention recently for her new songs, "Bow Down" and "I Been On." Some of the attention is positive: The Root praised the anthem for Beyoncé's "turn as a rapper," and Jezebel is calling the spliced-together tracks "totally new and totally different."

Some of the attention, of course, is negative. The Washington Post accused Beyoncé's first new tracks in two years of being anti-feminist, and Rush Limbaugh -- the guy who's been successfully trolling Americans for years -- agreed. Limbaugh hilariously "misinterpreted" Beyoncé's command of "bow down, bitches" to mean that she was bowing down to her husband, rapper Jay-Z, telling listeners on his radio show that "[b]ecause she married a rich guy...[Beyoncé] now understands it's worth it to bow down."

What can't be misinterpreted in the song, however, is King B's love for Frenchy's.

In the second track, "I Been On," you can hear a chopped-and-screwed Bey talking about appearing in a Willie D video when she was 14 years old (you can catch rapper and Houston Press columnist Willie D answering reader questions over at Rocks Off every week, by the way) and enjoying fried chicken and sausage in the Bayou City.

"Frenchy's, Boudin in the parking lot," Beyoncé raps in a verse that ends with "Hold up, Texas trill / H-town going down, man." The Frenchy's shout-out adds Beyoncé to the list of Houston rappers like Fat Tony and Chingo Bling who've repped the city's food with their lyrics. (Rappers love rapping about food. Fact.)

The Frenchy's reference isn't the first time Bey has given a shout-out to the fried chicken restaurant in the media, but taken together with these two thoroughly Houston tracks -- "H-town bitches, H-H-town bitches," she crows before the track descends into the syrup-slow, Texas trill chopped-and-screwed style that originated here -- it makes the two tracks into the sort of bombastic anthem Houston's never had all to itself. The crass but good-natured swagger pairs perfectly with the current "Fuck You Houston's Awesome" campaign.

A recent Houstorian post implored Houston supporters to be "defenders, not defensive" of the city, writing: "You won't see me apologizing, shrugging, pleading, comparing, or being slightest bit sarcastic or ironic about my love of Houston, and our commitment to keeping it a great place to live and visit."

Although some Houstonians see both the Fuck You Houston's Awesome campaign as more defensive than defending, I disagree. I think that both it and Beyoncé's new songs are fun, fierce and full of spirit -- just like Houston itself.

And I think we can all agree that Frenchy's chicken is definitely bow-worthy, too.

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Katharine Shilcutt