Nothing fills the world’s dance floor like old school R&B songs, which is why you will hear them at every club in the country on a Friday night. These undisputable tracks are iconic songs that never get old. However, this novel genre can also be soft and alluring. Here is a list of the 41 Best 2000s R&B Songs;
1. “Irreplaceable” by Beyoncé
Beyoncé does not require a man and does not demand anything. She is enough for herself, mentally and financially, as this 2006 mega-hit reassures the unfaithful item of her disdain.
She is expelling him from her home, returning the keys to her car. “You must not know ’bout me,” she teases him calmly, ensuring that everyone listening understands who she is in the phrase.
2. “Umbrella” by Rihanna and Jay-Z
Rihanna soothes her companion in “Umbrella” by promising to be there for him in good and difficult moments. Yes, the umbrella serves as a symbol of her moral support.
It topped the U.K. Singles Chart for ten weeks in a row, the longest run of any single that decade, and remained stationary in the United States for seven weeks in a row.
3. “100 Yard Dash” by Raphael Saadiq
“100 Yard Dash” is a fast-paced two-minute and 18-second song about a man whose life is flipped upside down by a woman.
The song’s classic design would fool a listener into thinking it was 50 years old. Rather than sounding like a cheap imitation, Saadiq authentically recreates the Motown sound.
4. “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys
“Fallin’,” the lead single from Alicia Keys’ 2001 debut album, “Songs in A Minor,” is one of those songs that stick with you so much that you recall where and when you initially heard it. The song establishes that Keys is a classic artist creating timeless music right away.
5. “Foolish” by Ashanti
Ashanti’s lyrics frequently dealt with heartbreak, and her 2002 song “Foolish” was no exception. The debut single utilized music specimens from Big L., DeBarge, and Notorious B.I.G. to tell the story of a love gone wrong.
The song, which was signed to Def Jam sublabel Murda Inc., garnered greater airplay and was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance at the 2003 Grammy Awards.
While Mary J. Blige beat her out, “Foolish” remains a reliable go-to in times of adversity.
6. “Touch” by Omarion
With the official launch of “Touch” in 2004, former B2K member Omarion gained full independence from his boy band portrait.
The dance-ready track, showcased as the second single from his album O, was created by The Neptunes and written by Pharrell Williams. The song only reached number 94 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, but don’t let that detract from your listening experience.
7. “Girlfriend” by B2K
If you were watching MTV or B.E.T. in 2003, you probably heard this R&B song several times. “Girlfriend” by B2K was the song that permitted youthful eligible bachelors worldwide to proudly proclaim that they were looking for a relationship.
The group released four albums throughout their career and starred in the dance film You Got Served. Unfortunately, the band split in 2004, but fortunately for fans, lead singer Omarion initiated his solo career shortly after.
8. “Smile” by Lilly Allen
With this heart-wrenching pop-reggae gem, Londoner Allen solidified her prestige as one of the decade’s most new and refreshing pop stars.
When she sings, ‘At first when I see you cry / Yeah, it makes me smile,’ her candy-coated vocals only add to the sting of the lyrics. It’s certainly the one play after a heartbreaking separation.
9. “Frontin'” by Pharrell Williams and JAY-Z
Pharrell Williams created his solo breakthrough in 2003 with the rollout of “Frontin’,” a successful operation of his group N.E.R.D.
Williams asserted at the time that the song was a one-off solo effort, but three years later released the full-length album In My Mind. The song featured JAY-Z, hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B chart.
If you grew up on a steady supply of 2000s R&B songs will recall exactly where they were when this groove came on.
Next: Best R&B karaoke songs
10. “SOS” by Rihanna
Although “S.O.S.” is one of Rihanna’s best songs, we believe it is one of her most underappreciated.
It’s the danceable lead single from A Girl Like Me, and it tells the story of a girl who falls deeply in love.
The masterful sonar sample from Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” on the other hand, suggests there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Rihanna’s lovesick lyrics have a scary undercurrent. Listening to this feels like you’re trapped on a dark, sinking ship, but you’re smiling as it sinks.
11. “No More Drama” by Mary J Blige
Mary J. Blige has had a good proportion of drama during her time in the spotlight. The Grammy-winning singer has been surveilled in relationships and had her private life divided for others to explore.
“No More Drama,” created by the legendary songwriter duo Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, reached the top 15 on the Hot 100. The music video won Best R&B Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.
The song is about beating the odds and moving on from pain — themes that spoke to Blige.
12. “Long Way 2 Go” by Cassie
Cassie’s music video effectively conveys the meaning of the song. This song is about reaching someone you have seen on the online platform in a nightclub.
You get friend requests from them publicizing themselves, claiming they are so hot. However, you know they are just trying to hide their computer display names. Then you run into them one evening at the clubs, and they take advantage of the situation, thinking they can control you.
Cassie rejects the obsessed guy in this song, claiming that she’s “too good for him.”
13. “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse
“Rehab” was originally released and was about the late Amy Winehouse’s rebellion against her senior executives’ attempts to get her to join an alcohol rehabilitation program. “They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said, ‘No, no, no,'” she defiantly sings over a shimmying horns-and-percussion-laced Motown-inspired beat.
14. “Cry Me a River” by Justin Timberlake
Those were the days, we tell you. When Britney and Justin were vibrant out of the Mickey Mouse Club, they were young and naïve. They met when they were teenagers and dated from 1999 until early 2002, when they abruptly ended their relationship.
“Cry Me a River,” released in late 2002 as the second single from Timberlake’s debut solo album, was the ideal pop fuel for the ferocious speculations of their tumultuous split.
15. “Take a Bow” by Rihanna
‘Take a Bow’ is all about a woman who has lost interest in reuniting with a deceitful ex-boyfriend.
Although the ex-boyfriend expresses regret and wishes to re-enter her life, “you look so dumb right now, standin outside my house, try to apologize,” she declined to give him another chance.
She tells him that he is not sorry because of unfaithfulness but because she was caught, “Don’t tell me your sorry cause you’re not, Baby, when I know you’re only sorry you got caught.”
16. “Why Don’t We Fall in Love” by Amerie
Amerie’s summertime jam “Why Don’t We Fall in Love,” spotlighted as the lead single from her new album All I Have, was one of 2002’s best presents.
The song’s saucy spice mix of sweet vocals and optimistic lyrics created a radio-friendly track on quickly appreciating love.
Written and directed by Rich Harrison, who also produced Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” Benny Boom guided a gentle and sentimental video to accompany the song.
17. “Rock The Boat” by Aaliyah
Aaliyah is amongst the most well-known R&B singers of the early 2000s. Her classic soprano vocals on songs and iconic collaborations with Timbaland and Missy Elliott cemented her status as an all time R&B icon.
“Rock the Boat,” released in 2002, was one of the last songs Aaliyah noted before her death. It’s easy to see how timeless this love song is with lyrics like “Ever since our voyage of love began / Your touch has thrilled me like the rush of the wind.
18. “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child
The song “Independent Women,” like Destiny’s Child’s mega-hit “Survivor,” is about female empowerment.
If there is one thing the group excels at, it is making crafty hooks, such as; “The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it. The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it. The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it.”
19. “Untitled (How Does it Feel)” by D’Angelo
D’Angelo may have left the spotlight in the mid-to-late 2000s, but before he did, the singer and multi-instrumentalist released the iconic steamy sex-anthem “Untitled (How Does It Feel).”
The song was written and produced by Raphael Saadiq and D’Angelo himself as a homage to Prince. It featured D’Angelo’s trademark falsetto vocals and a tuneful guitar riff.
It made headlines due to the accompanying music video, in which he lip-synched half-naked—something we reimagined in our bedrooms decades after the classic 2000s R&B track dropped.
20. “Slow Down” by Booby V.
Bobby V.’s debut single “Slow Down” seized our hearts in 2005. The song follows V as he walks down Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, where he recognizes a woman, he wants to meet.
Before he could even begin the brief fling, she must first “slow down” and transfer her digits along. V’s vocals and penchant for smooth-talking lyrics propelled the single to the highest part of the U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart for four weeks in a row.
21. “Cater 2 U” by Destiny’s Child
Destiny’s Child is undoubtedly one of R&B’s most legendary musical groups, held to account for most of our preferred R&B songs.
The group released the ballad “Cater 2 U” in 2004 with longtime collaborators Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins and Ric Rude.
While the music and lyrics evoked mixed reactions, it was named Best R&B/Soul Single, Group, Band, or Duo at the 2006 Soul Train Music Awards. “Cater 2 U” is both gentle and seductive, with each participant getting their moment to shine.
22. “American Boy” by Estelle and Kanye West
Hammersmith’s Estelle Swaray rubs shoulders with the only Yeezy on this smooth present disco track.
It’s amusing to hear Kanye rap about being ‘dressed smart like a London bloke,’ but Estelle’s parts are delightful. ‘I don’t like his baggy jeans, but I might like what’s underneath,’ she sings, winking.
The solid-gold noughties anthem never loses its luster, no matter how you hear it.
23. “U Remind Me” by Usher
In the 2000s, everyone wondered if Usher was dating T.L.C.’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas. “U Remind Me,” which had already been connected to many other singers at the time, addressed the singer’s suspicion about getting into a relationship.
In the end, Usher embarked on a two-year relationship with Chilli, won his first Grammy for this fiery R&B track, and secured years of 2000s love songs to come.
24. “Wifey” by Next
If you’re acquainted with the “Why You Lyin’?” meme, you should be familiar with the R&B group Next. “Wifey,” their debut single, was launched in the summer of 2000 and quickly became a club hit.
Although the song did reach number one on the US R&B chart, it pales compared to the group’s song “Too Close,” which resurfaced in pop culture following the viral video.
25. “Let me Love You” by Mario
Mario’s 2005 song “Let Me Love You” is beautifully simple and has stood the test of time. It’s one of the biggest hits he’s ever written.
It was composed by Ne-Yo and emerged on Mario’s second studio album, “Turning Point.”
26. “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
While Mariah Carey has offered us many hits over the years, one that established her place in the R&B canon was the 2005 single “We Belong Together.”
The single, which appeared on her comeback album, The Emancipation of Mimi, was launched at a time when critics had successfully declared her career over. The song featured a Bobby Womack sample and highlighted Carey’s diverse vocal abilities.
27. “Soldier of Love” by Sade
Sade, one of music’s loveliest voices, returned in December 2009 with “Soldier of Love,” the first single from the album of the same name, after a nearly 10-year long break. Sade wrote and co-produced the song, which highlights a vibrating and catchy drum beat and her haunting vocals.
28. “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child
“Say My Name” has the most brilliant lyrics of any Destiny’s Child song. After paying attention to this song, even the most dishonest men could indeed feel what it’s like on the other side of the problem.
29. “Give it To Me Right” by Melanie Fiona
Melanie Fiona’s “Give It to Me Right” is a highly addictive song about wanting a man who understands how to conduct himself correctly in the bedroom.
It’s sexy without being overly sexual, and it gets the point across without being coarse or vulgar, which is one of its many strengths.
The song cleverly incorporates a sample of “Time of the Season” by psychedelic pop group The Zombies from the 1960s.
30. “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell
“Pretty Wings,” which was launched in April 2009, is “about the last relationship I had,” according to Maxwell in an interview at the time.
“It’s about meeting the person of your dreams at the wrong time. The song is a testament to what I wanted to say.”
31. “I Am Not My Hair” by India. Arie
India. Arie in its original form. “I Am Not My Hair,” launched in December 2005, was nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 2007 Grammy Awards.
Akon’s remix was released in 2006 and may have surpassed the original. This is one of the list’s most upbeat singles, and it’s about gaining knowledge to be relaxed with yourself and loving yourself irrespective of your looks.
32. “Honey” By Erykah Badu
“Honey,” one of the most incredible music videos of 2008, also is amongst the most artistic videos in R&B music history, winning an MTV Video Music Award for direction.
Badu re-energized a genre that had been dormant for months with this single.
33. “Be Without You” by Mary. J. Blige
“Be Without You” is a song from Mary J. Blige’s album “The Breakthrough,” which was announced in November 2005.
The song became the most fruitful release in the historical record of Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in the first half of 2006, spending 15 weeks at the top.
The powerful vocals and the emotions of belief and commitment are among the things that make “Be Without You” so great.
34. “Do You?” By Ne-Yo
Is your ex still thinking about you? Ne-Yo addresses this. He has a gift for songwriting, as evidenced by “Do You?” the second single from his “Because of You” album. There is also a remix with Mary J. Blige.
35. “Teenage Love Affair” by Alicia Keys
The song from Keys’ 2007 album “As I Am” captures what it’s like to be a teen in love. She does an outstanding job of demonstrating the pressures of adolescent dating.
You are worried about when your special someone will call you back, sending messages back and forth to them while proudly serving a tuneful beat and melody.
36. “Ordinary People” by John Legend
Even in the 2000s, John Legend demonstrated that you did not require much to have a hit. All you need is a piano, a lovely song, constructive lyrics, and a unique voice to become a legend.
It was not his first single on opening, but it is possibly the one that is instantly recognized and valued by music fans of all genres. With hints of Stevie Wonder, the song introduced John Legend as someone whose artistry is anything but ordinary.
37. “Ego” by Beyoncé
“Ego” was a ballad about some considerable “masculine” energy before anyone knew what the term meant. Beyoncé sings for three and a half minutes in an elongated, hardly symbol of a song about how her paramour’s “ego” is very big, wide, and strong and won’t fit.
To top it all off, she courageously proclaims, “she doesn’t need no beat, she can sing it with piano,” before a beat carries her through to the song’s end. It’s a bold statement that perfectly encapsulates the song’s joyous celebration of arrogance, free of pesky things like facts.
38. “Don’t Stop the Music” by Rihanna
“Don’t Stop the Music” is a follow-up to Michael Jackson’s 1982 hit “Wanna Be Startin’ Something.” It’s an upbeat dance-pop romp about ignoring stressful circumstances and dancing to the music. Simple, but pretty powerful.
It was released on September 7, 2007, as the fourth single from Good Girl Gone Bad. Maybe the song is not the most complex of Rihanna’s hits, but when we imagine that lovely 2000s style of music and what was significant at the moment, it feels like a perfect capsule for the soul.
39. “Don’t Mess with My Man” by Lucy Pearl
Lucy Pearl, an R&B supergroup, only released one album, the self-titled debut in 2000, but it’s a bit of a lost classic.
Dawn Robinson (formerly of En Vogue) warns a romantic rival in an infectiously sassy manner in the top-class track ‘Don’t Mess with My Man.’
It wasn’t a big hit at the time, but it was analyzed by Ed Sheeran (on ‘Don’t’) and covered by dance duo Booty Luv, which helped cement its legacy.
40. “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga and Colby O’Donis
This track will ship you back to 2008 with its iconic shout-out intro (‘RedOne… Konvict… Gaga!’).
It’s essentially a song about heading out, getting smashed, and doing your stuff on the dance floor, and it’s one of Gaga’s most exclusively exciting aspects.
Only one question: what became of featured artist Colby O’Donis?
41. “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera
With this explosive lead single from her fourth (and best) album, ‘Stripped,’ Xtina genuinely let the genie out of the bottle.
Sure, previously hearty teen-pop stars have a habit of getting sexy when they want us to know they’ve matured, but when it’s done with this much aplomb, who cares? And the video is a blatant classic.
R&B songs can create a mood when you are with that special someone. Our list of the best R&B songs from the 2000s is a great place to start if you’re new to this popular and influential genre.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.