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Beyoncé’s Nod To Dolly Parton In “RIIVERDANCE” Is *Everything*

One of Beyoncé’s many talents is being intentional and including the smallest details in her music, especially present in her latest album Cowboy Carter. One of country music’s most coveted gems, Dolly Parton, appears on the album in the songs “DOLLY P” and “TYRANT.” But, Bey’s appreciation for Dolly extends beyond the songs she is featured on, present in her cover of “JOLENE,” but also pays homage to Dolly’s iconic nail trick during the percussion on “RIIVERDANCE.” 

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, allow me to fill you in on some iconic Dolly P history. Dolly, recognized for her big hair, voice, and character, is nothing short of a musical genius. And Dolly wouldn’t be Dolly without her signature acrylic nails. She even credits her nails as a musical instrument on her album 9 To 5 And Odd Jobs. 

When writing her hit song “9 to 5,” while she was on the set for the film of the same name, Dolly revealed in an interview on the Graham Norton Show that she would clack her acrylics together “like a typewriter” to create a beat/percussion while writing the lyrics. Talk about working with what you got! 

Speaking with Norton, Parton explained that, “After we recorded the song, I brought all the girls down that was on the show and I played my nails. So I have a credit on the back of the album that says, ‘Nails by Dolly.’” 

This quickly became recognized as the “nail trick,” something that Dolly is widely appreciated for. So, if you think the percussion on Bey’s “RIIVERDANCE” is itching something in your brain, that’s probably because you’re connecting it to the “nail trick” used on “9 to 5.” 

A TikTok posted by @beyoncevi on March 30 posted a video of Dolly talking about the “nail trick” and then showed where Bey uses the trick on “RIIVERDANCE.” After hearing these side by side, it makes the song 10x better. 


one thing beyonce gon do is be intentional and include the smallest details. GENIUS #beyonce #dollyparton #cowboycarter #actii #fyp

♬ original sound – beyoncevi

So, yes. The beats you hear in the background starting with the lyrics “Bounce on that sh*t, dance (dance)” are indeed Bey’s nails. The “nail trick” is especially present during the lyrics, “We fight but we must make amends / Arrest me and read me my rights / I plan to steal your heart again / On Saturday and Sunday night.” It is the primary beat in the background, so the next time you listen to the song, it won’t be hard to miss. 

It’s amazing to see Beyoncé including such an iconic trick of Dolly’s in her own music. If you need me, I’ll be getting a new set of acrylics strictly to do the nail trick. 

Eileen is a senior at Fairfield University who is studying Communications with minors in English, Professional Writing, and Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies. She has a passion for magazine writing and hopes to pursue a career in the field. Eileen is the Entertainment & Culture Intern at Her Campus where she covers all things pop culture, entertainment, and internet trends. Eileen was formerly a National Writer for Her Campus from April 2023 - January 2024. Eileen is one of the Campus Correspondents (CCs) at Her Campus' Fairfield University chapter. She oversees the entire chapter and works with her other CC to curate ideas and events for HCFU. She also mentors and trains the editorial team and helps create content and boost engagement alongside the social media team. In her free time, you can find Eileen creating new Spotify playlists, getting a sweet treat with friends, or obsessing over Taylor Swift. If she isn’t doing that, you’ll likely find Eileen with her six best friends from school talking about their “Big Three”: "Normal People," their favorite "Dancing With The Stars" performances, and Greta Gerwig's "Little Women."