Behind Beyoncé’s “Protector” and Why It’s The Perfect Mother’s Day Theme Song

Beyoncé’s country-inspired 2024 album, ‘Cowboy Carter,’ goes a lot of places you’d expect from Queen Bey. (Besides the obvious novelty of this monumental hip-hop-to-country crossover.) Amidst plucky acoustic accompaniments, the album is bold, confident, sexual, and fun.

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However, hidden in the 27-song tracklist is Beyoncé’s softer, maternal side, exemplified by song No. 4: “Protector.” The track not only showcases the singer’s impeccable vocal delivery. It also harkens back to a recurring familial theme throughout Beyoncé’s prolific career.

Plus, if you were looking for new additions to your Mother’s Day 2024 playlist, congratulations. You just found it.

The Heartwarming Meaning Behind Beyoncé’s “Protector”

Those looking for the inspiration behind “Protector” by Beyoncé need only listen to the first few seconds. The track opens with Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s youngest daughter, Rumi Carter: Mom, can I hear the lullaby? Please? Acoustic guitar accompaniment plays while Rumi laughs in the background, setting the heartwarming tone for the rest of the song.

The fourth track off ‘Cowboy Carter’ is a clear dedication to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s young family: Blue Ivy, born in 2012, and twins, Rumi and Sir, born in 2017. 

I will lead you down that road if you lose your way, born to be a protector
Even though I know, someday, you’re gonna shine on your own
I will be your projector 

Beyoncé waxes poetic about her transition from daughter to mother. An apricot picked right off a givin’ tree, I gave water to the soil, and now it feeds me, her alto voice croons. And there you are, shaded underneath it all. I feel proud of who I am because you need me.

A Musical Empire Turned Family Business

Beyoncé compares her youngest daughter, Rumi, to her father in the bridge of “Protector.” I first saw your face in your father’s gaze, she sings. There’s a long line of hands carrying your name, lifting you up so you will be raised. And indeed, this concept isn’t just lyrical fluff Beyoncé included for the sake of a ballad—it’s exactly how she and Jay-Z conduct family business. 

“Protector” is hardly the first time the musical power couple incorporated their children in their music. Jay-Z featured Blue Ivy’s newborn cries in the intro of his 2012 song “Glory.” After the song peaked at No. 23 on the US Billboard Rap chart, Blue Ivy became the youngest charting artist in Billboard’s history. Eleven years later, her mom promoted her to backup dancer.

The eldest Carter daughter began performing with Beyoncé during her iconic ‘Renaissance’ world tour, even if it required a bit of mother-daughter negotiation. “She told me she was ready to perform, and I told her no,” Beyoncé revealed in her ‘Renaissance’ film (via New York Times). The singer even admitted to almost fainting the first time she shared the stage with Blue Ivy. Nevertheless, armed with her mother’s can-do attitude, Blue Ivy persisted and landed a recurring role onstage.

The Ultimate Mother’s Day Anthem

Songs like “Texas Hold ‘Em” and “Bodyguard” are perfect for parties or the dance floor. But “Protector” offers a far more sentimental purpose. The track’s touching message of the lifelong love and support mothers offer their children makes this the perfect Mother’s Day anthem for 2024 (and many years to come). 

It also offers an exciting glimpse into the future wherein Beyoncé will continue to be a projector for her children-turned-artistic protegés. As Blue Ivy continues to grow into her own as a performer and artist in her own right, we can’t wait to see what the Carter twins—and the family as a whole—will do with their immeasurable talents.

(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

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