The 20 Greatest Early 2000s R&B Songs, Ranked

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We're feeling nostalgic today, so let's talk about the greatest early 2000s R&B songs. There's no denying the cultural power the early 2000s had on the music scene, especially when it comes to rhythm and blues. A vibrant era that seamlessly blended the heartfelt emotion of traditional R&B with the emerging influence of hip hop, pop, and electronic music. As we dive into the past, let's relive the greatest hits that had us vibing in this transformative era. These 20 tracks not only defined the early 2000s R&B scene, but they also made lasting impressions that continue to resonate today.

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20. "Foolish" by Ashanti

Year Released: 2002

Ashanti's smooth vocals on this soulful track made it an instant classic. The song's narrative of love and regret captivated millions and placed Ashanti firmly on the R&B map.

19. "Love" by Keyshia Cole

Year Released: 2006

This ballad from Keyshia Cole tugs at the heartstrings. Its soaring vocals and touching lyrics make "Love" a standout track of the era.

18. "Differences" by Ginuwine

Year Released: 2001

"Differences" showcases Ginuwine's emotive voice, making it a staple in early 2000s R&B. It's a timeless ode to love that remains memorable.

17. "He Wasn't Man Enough" by Toni Braxton

Year Released: 2000

This bold track from Toni Braxton featured powerful vocals and an empowering message, making it one of the most popular songs of the era.

16. "Ms. Jackson" by Outkast

Year Released: 2000

"Ms. Jackson" was a fresh take on R&B with its captivating story-telling and unique blend of rap and R&B. Outkast truly shined on this unforgettable track.

15. "U Got It Bad" by Usher

Year Released: 2001

Usher's "U Got It Bad" became a defining anthem of love and heartbreak, demonstrating his extraordinary vocal talent and emotional range.

14. "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys

Year Released: 2001

This debut single from Alicia Keys, with its powerful piano melody and soulful vocals, quickly established her as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that this was her debut?

13. "Let Me Love You" by Mario

Year Released: 2004

Mario's "Let Me Love You" was a beloved track with its romantic lyrics and catchy melody. It's an early 2000s classic that still resonates today.

12. "So Sick" by Ne-Yo

Year Released: 2006

"So Sick" demonstrated Ne-Yo's songwriting prowess and expressive voice, making the song a favorite among R&B fans and a standout of the era.

11. "Yeah!" by Usher (feat. Lil Jon and Ludacris)

Year Released: 2004

This high-energy collaboration was an unstoppable force in the early 2000s. "Yeah!" combined R&B with crunk music to create an irresistible dance track.

10. "Dilemma" by Nelly (feat. Kelly Rowland)

Year Released: 2002

This duet from Nelly and Kelly Rowland was a chart-topping hit that showcased the harmonic blend of their voices and a catchy melody that was simply infectious.

9. "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child

Year Released: 2000

Destiny's Child delivered unforgettable harmonies and a catchy hook with "Say My Name". It remains an iconic song from the group's impressive catalogue.

8. "You Don't Know My Name" by Alicia Keys

Year Released: 2003

This soulful track by Alicia Keys is a testament to her incredible musical talent. It's a beautifully crafted song that showcased her storytelling ability and her captivating voice.

7. "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige

Year Released: 2001

"Family Affair" was an energetic track from Mary J. Blige that brought a fresh sound to R&B with its fusion of hip hop beats and soulful vocals.

6. "Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake

Year Released: 2002

Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body" is a perfect blend of R&B and pop that showcases Timberlake's smooth vocals. The funky beat and infectious chorus made it the classic it's become, marking Timberlake's successful transition from boy band member to a bona fide solo artist.

5. "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys

Year Released: 2003

Alicia Keys' emotive ballad "If I Ain't Got You" beautifully encapsulates the essence of love and remains a standout track of the early 2000s.

4. "Cry Me A River" by Justin Timberlake

Year Released: 2002

"Cry Me a River" is an iconic song from Justin Timberlake that solidified his position in the realm of R&B. This track showcased Timberlake's impressive vocal range and his ability to convey deep emotion, making it a standout hit of the early 2000s.

3. "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé (feat. Jay-Z)

Year Released: 2003

This iconic collaboration from power couple Beyoncé and Jay-Z was a monumental hit, blending R&B, pop, and hip-hop in a fresh and captivating way.

2. "I'm Real (Remix)" by Jennifer Lopez (feat. Ja Rule)

Year Released: 2001

Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule created a massive hit with "I'm Real (Remix)", a song that seamlessly blended R&B with pop and hip-hop elements, helping to define the music of the early 2000s.

1. "1 Thing" by Amerie

Year Released: 2005

Topping our list is Amerie's "1 Thing". The unforgettable go-go beat, paired with Amerie's soaring vocals, created an irresistibly catchy track that helped move music forward at the midpoint of the decade.

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