Spotify Classics: The 100 Greatest R&B Songs of the Streaming Era

Spotify CLASSICS: The 100 Greatest R&B Songs of the Streaming Era

In February, we launched Spotify CLASSICS, our first-ever program to celebrate catalog music. Our inaugural list focused on the Classic Hip-Hop and R&B Albums of the Streaming Era and featured timeless bodies of work like Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Frank Ocean’s Blonde, SZA’s Ctrl, Rihanna’s ANTI, and Jazmine Sullivan’s Heaux Tales, to name a few. 

Today we’re unveiling the second chapter of our CLASSICS program: The 100 Greatest R&B Songs of the Streaming Era. Spotify defines the Streaming Era as a timeframe that spans 2015 until present day.

R&B went through an identity crisis during the first half of the 2010s, but the genre found its footing during the streaming era. R&B morphed into a style of music that absorbed hip-hop, pop, Afrobeats, electronic, alternative, and indie into its sound, breathing new life into the genre.

Spotify’s U.S. editorial team—along with Carl Chery, Creative Director, Head of Urban Music at Spotify—has taken on the ambitious task of corralling all shades of R&B under one umbrella, and in the end, this list offers a snapshot of all the genre has offered in the streaming era. Based on criteria such as quality, impact, replay value, influence, and cultural significance, Spotify CLASSICS is 100% qualitative. The program is driven by our editors’ music and cultural expertise—and not by data—meaning that massive streaming numbers were not a requirement for the 100 songs you see below.

Note: All songs were released on Spotify after January 1, 2015. The Spotify streams are current as of April 8, 2024.

100. Mahalia ft. Ella Mai – “What You Did” 

5K/Sony, 2019

Spotify Streams: 119,207,837

Fun Fact: The song samples Rose Royce’s “I’m Going Down.” Mary J. Blige and Cam’ron previously sampled the song. Cam’ron appears on the remix to “What You Did.”

99. Libianca – “People”

5K/Sony, 2022

Spotify Streams: 599,870,162

Fun Fact: Jakarta, India, is the top city listening to “People” on Spotify.

98. Lucky Daye ft. Alex Isley, Masego & Jack Dine – “Good & Plenty (Remix)”

Isley & Dine, 2021

Spotify Streams: 51,032,263

Fun Fact: Joey Badass sampled “Good & Plenty” on his song “Passports & Suitcases.”

97. PJ Morton ft. JoJo – “Say So”

Morton/Empire, 2019

Spotify Streams: 35,878,123

Fun Fact: Say So” won Best R&B Song at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards. PJ Morton has won five Grammys as an R&B artist.

96. Kali Uchis – “Moonlight”

Geffen, 2023

Spotify Streams: 640,798,930

Fun Fact: Kali Uchis first teased the song on her TikTok account on November 20, 2022.

95. SiR – “D’Evils”

Top Dawg Entertainment, 2018

Spotify Streams: 119,009,859

Fun Fact: Jay-Z released a song with the same title on his debut album, Reasonable Doubt.

94. Sampha – “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” 

Young Turks, 2017

Spotify Streams: 91,697,106

Fun Fact: (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” is Samphas most-streamed solo song on Spotify.

93. Ravyn Lenae ft. Steve Lacy – “Skin Tight”

Atlantic, 2022

Spotify Streams: 23,727,173

Fun Fact: Skin Tight” was a late addition to Ravyn Lenae’s album, Hypnos. Steve Lacy brought it to Ravyn’s attention as they were starting to mix the album.

92. Yebba – “Distance”

RCA, 2021

Spotify Streams: 31,535,923

Fun Fact: Distance” was recorded in New York City’s legendary Electric Lady Studios. D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Bilal’s 1st Born Second, and The RootsPhrenology were also recorded at Electric Lady.

91. Tiana Major9 ft. EARTHGANG – “Collide” 

Motown, 2019

Spotify Streams: 45,894,014

Fun Fact: Collide” was nominated for Best R&B Song at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards.

90. Thundercat – “Them Changes”

Brainfeeder, 2020

Spotify Streams: 302,994,988

Fun Fact: Them Changes” borrows its drums from The Isley Brothers’ “Footsteps in the Dark, Pts. 1&2.”

89. Kelela “LMK”

Warp, 2017

Spotify Streams: 12,352,417

Fun Fact: Stereogum, Noisey, and Highsnobiety all ranked Kelela’s “LMK” at #7 on their Best Songs of 2017 lists.

88. Oxlade – “KU LO SA”

Troniq Music/Epic, 2022

Spotify Streams: 18,882,490

Fun Fact: The “A COLORS SHOW” version of Oxlade’s “KU LO SA” has over 81 million views on YouTube.

87. Kehlani ft. Masego – “Hate the Club”

Atlantic, 2020

Spotify Streams: 34,330,901

Fun Fact: Kehlani name-checks Shabba, a popular reggae/dancehall party now known as Donovan’s Yard. Young Thug also shouts out Shabba on Metro Boomin’s “Trance.”

86. Janelle Monae – “Only Have Eyes 42”

Atlantic, 2023

Spotify Streams: 8,967,190

Fun Fact: Only Have Eyes 42” samples reggae artist Derrick Harriott’s “The Loser.”

85. Snoh Aalegra – “I Want You Around”

ARTium/AWAL, 2019

Spotify Streams: 147,258,213

Fun Fact: I Want You Around” is Snoh Aalegra’s first Platinum single certified by the RIAA.

84. Ro James – “Permission”

ByStorm/RCA, 2015

Spotify Streams: 69,369,232

Fun Fact: Permission” samples Willie Hutch’s “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out.” The sample was previously used on Chance The Rapper’s “Lost.”

83. Ty Dolla $ign ft. Musiq Soulchild, Tish Hyman & 6LACK – “Your Turn”

Atlantic, 2020

Spotify Streams: 14,684,668

Fun Fact: Your Turn” was originally included on the tracklist for a Ty Dolla $ign album slated to be released before the COVID-19 pandemic.

82. Masego ft. FKJ – “Tadow”

EQT, 2017

Spotify Streams: 442,923,172

Fun Fact: The “Tadow” video was released almost two years after the song came out.

81. Jacquees – “B.E.D.”

Cash Money/Republic, 2016

Spotify Streams: 261,215,353

Fun Fact: “B.E.D.”s chorus interpolates the bridge of Avants “Read Your Mind.”

80. Khalid – “Location”

RCA, 2017

Spotify Streams: 1,347,691,159

Fun Fact: “Location” has been officially remixed three times: The first including Lil Wayne and Kehlani, the second featuring Lil Simz, and the third featuring Jorja Smith and Wretch 32.

79. Erykah Badu ft. André 3000 – “Hello”

Motown, 2015

Spotify Streams: 43,693,878

Fun Fact:Hello” marks the second musical collaboration between Erykah Badu and André 3000. Badu is also featured on OutKast’s “Liberation.”

78. Brent Faiyaz – “DEAD MAN WALKING”

Lost Kids, 2020

Spotify Streams: 376,159,856

Fun Fact: Brent Faiyaz released the song to ring in his 25th birthday. 

77. Solange – “Stay Flo”

Columbia, 2019

Spotify Streams: 74,174,239

Fun Fact: Metro Boomin provides ad-libs for “Stay Flo.” Some of the ad-libs are also repurposed for “Almeda.” Metro doesn’t generally lend his vocals to the songs he produces.

76. Steve Lacy ft. Fousheé – “Sunshine” 

RCA, 2022

Spotify Streams: 68,770,489

Fun Fact: Steve Lacy previously collaborated with Fousheé on “candy grapes” from her album time machine.

75. Nao – “Bad Blood”

Little Tokyo/RCA, 2015

Spotify Streams: 65,481,587

Fun Fact: The song premiered on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show.

74. Lucky Daye – “Roll Some Mo”

Keep Cool/RCA, 2019

Spotify Streams: 61,588,273

Fun Fact: Roll Some Mo” was nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

73. Jazmine Sullivan – “Let It Burn”

RCA, 2015

Spotify Streams: 48,943,523

Fun Fact: The song samples “Ready or Not” from R&B trio After 7. The song was released 25 years before “Let It Burn” came out.

72. H.E.R. – “Damage”

RCA, 2020

Spotify Streams: 105,224,490

Fun Fact: Damage” was nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.

71. Chris Brown ft. Wizkid – “Call Me Every Day” 

RCA, 2022

Spotify Streams: 117,142,141

Fun Fact: This is the third collaboration between Chris Brown and Wizkid. They previously worked together on the remix to Wizkid’s “Shabba” and “African Bad Gyal.”

70. dvsn – “Too Deep”

OVO Sound, 2016

Spotify Streams: 76,566,319

Fun Fact:Too Deep” features a sample of Ginuwine’s “So Anxious.” The song was later sampled on Justin Bieber’s “Take It Out on Me” and TWENTY88’s Time In.”

69. Chloe x Halle – “Do It” 

Parkwood/Columbia, 2020

Spotify Streams: 175,954,973

Fun Fact: Do It” was cowritten by Victoria Monét.

68. Snoh Aalegra – “DO 4 LOVE”

ARTium/Roc Nation, 2021

Spotify Streams: 53,078,597

Fun Fact: DO 4 LOVE” covers Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do for Love” and was originally released as part of the Spotify Singles program. The song was nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards.

67. The Internet – “Special Affair”

Odd Future/Columbia, 2015

Spotify Streams: 106,929,821

Fun Fact: Special Affair” is certified Gold by the RIAA. It’s one of two songs from The Internet to earn a RIAA certification.

66. 6LACK – “PRBLMS”

LVRN/Interscope, 2016

Spotify Streams: 454,624,399

Fun Fact: PRBLMS” was first released on Soundcloud and was later briefly released through Empire Distribution before 6LACK signed to Interscope.

65. Pink Sweat$ – “Honesty”

Human Re-Sources, 2018

Spotify Streams: 341,006,269

Fun Fact: Pink Sweat$ got his start in the industry as a songwriter. “Honesty” is the first song he wrote for himself as an artist.

64. Jorja Smith – “Blue Lights”

FAMM, 2018

Spotify Streams: 228,730,295

Fun Fact: Jorja Smith still worked at Starbucks when the song was first released.

63. Bryson Tiller –  “Right My Wrongs”

RCA, 2015

Spotify Streams: 452,147,413

Fun Fact: Right My Wrongs” is the third-most-streamed song on Bryson Tiller’s T R A P S O U L. The song was never released as a single.

62. Cleo Sol – “When I’m In Your Arms”

Forever Living Originals, 2020

Spotify Streams: 42,477,516

Fun Fact: Cleo Sol is affiliated with the mysterious R&B collective SAULT.

61. Jhené Aiko – “While We’re Young” 

Def Jam, 2017 

Spotify Streams: 278,418,525

Fun Fact: The song’s video is inspired by the romantic comedy 50 First Dates starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. 

60. Tyla – “Water”

FAX/Epic, 2023

Spotify Streams: 534,909,280

Fun Fact: Tyla was featured on Spotify’s RADAR Africa program in the summer of 2023. She previewed a sneak peek of “Water” during an episode of the Spotify Mic Check podcast.

59. Kehlani ft. Ty Dolla $ign – “Nights Like This”

Atlantic, 2019

Spotify Streams: 565,834,719

Fun Fact: Nights Like This” is Kehlani’s biggest song to date. It’s certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA.

58. Bruno Mars – “Finesse”

Atlantic, 2016

Spotify Streams: 254,402,201

Fun Fact: “Finesse” is inspired by the popular late ’80s-early ’90s subgenre New Jack Swing. The video, which features Cardi B, pays homage to the legendary sketch comedy show In Living Color.

57. Jeremih – “oui”

Def Jam, 2015

Spotify Streams: 658,033,969

Fun Fact:Oui” is Jeremih’s sixth multiplatinum single. The song is certified 5x Platinum by the RIAA.

56. Brent Faiyaz – “Clouded”

Lost Kids, 2020

Spotify Streams: 521,190,058

Fun Fact: Clouded” is Brent Faiyaz’s most-streamed song on Spotify.

55. H.E.R. ft. Bryson Tiller – “Could’ve Been” 

RCA, 2019

Spotify Streams: 427,811,796

Fun Fact: Could’ve Been” was nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

54. The Weeknd – “Earned It”

Republic, 2014

Spotify Streams: 1,622,146,954

Fun Fact:Earned It” marked The Weeknd’s first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo act.

53. Chris Brown – “Under the Influence”

RCA, 2019

Spotify Streams: 1,183,107,837

Fun Fact: Under the Influence” was originally released as part of Indigo (Extended) in 2019. The song went viral in 2022 and was released as a single almost three years later. It’s now the most-streamed song from the album.

52. Giveon – “Like I Want You”

Epic, 2019

Spotify Streams: 365,433,647

Fun Fact: Giveon initially didn’t expect this song to be well received.

51. Teyana Taylor – “Gonna Love Me” 

G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam, 2018

Spotify Streams: 224,088,049

Fun Fact: Teyana Taylor directed the video for the remix, which features Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Method Man, and Raekwon.

CLASSICS R&B 100: #50-#11

50. Jazmine Sullivan – “Lost One”

RCA, 2020

Jazmine Sullivan’s “Lost One” arrived in 2020, five years after the release of her previous album, Reality Show. As the lead single for 2021’s critically acclaimed Heaux Tales, it signaled a new beginning in more than one way. Eschewing more traditional pop songwriting structures, “Lost One” showed off an evolution in Jazmine’s sound, as she takes a sparse and muddy guitar loop and brings it to life with multipart harmonies that jump from the speakers in all three dimensions. Over the course of three and a half minutes, she chronicles the process of moving on from a relationship, laying bare the good, bad, and ugly that comes with it. 

Spotify Streams: 28,384,484

Fun Fact: “Lost One” was Jazmine’s first single in five years (not including the title track from the Insecure soundtrack).

49. Steve Lacy – “Dark Red” 

3Qtr/AWAL, 2017

As a core member of The Internet, Steve Lacy helped the group mine the proggy, experimental corners of ’70s soul and reimagine them in a contemporary light. With “Dark Red,” the standout track from his debut solo EP Steve Lacy’s Demo, the multitalented artist flashes his ability to combine the lived-in feel of The Internet’s best work with infectious hooks and melodies that would be right at home on any pop star’s album.

Spotify Streams: 1,239,968,662

Fun Fact: Steve created “Dark Red” on his iPhone. The song went viral and had its biggest moment in 2021, four years after its release.

48. Ari Lennox – “Shea Butter Baby”

Dreamville/Interscope, 2018

After generating buzz with her debut EP, PHO, in 2016, vocalist Ari Lennox had a breakthrough moment with her 2019 single “Shea Butter Baby.” A seductive late-night call to action, the tune pulls from trap, dancehall, and dembow influences, creating a hypnotic mélange as Ari lustfully shoots her shot into the darkness. By song’s end, her plea is heard as J. Cole hops on the track to respond in kind, giving it an electric atmosphere that helped make it a modern classic.

Spotify Streams: 160,041,592

Fun Fact: This song was originally released on the soundtrack for Creed II.

47. SiR – “John Redcorn” 

TDE/RCA, 2019

By the time “John Redcorn” dropped in 2019, SiR had already carved out his spot on a stacked TDE roster that included the likes of Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Schoolboy Q. While he already had a string of hits to his name, the vocalist took an unexpected turn with “John Redcorn,” drawing inspiration from a certain TV character of the same name. Spacious and full of lush instrumentation, SiR invites listeners to get lost in the track and drift aimlessly as he guides you through one of his patented tales of unrequited love.

Spotify Streams: 80,639,466

Fun Fact: John Redcorn is a fictional character from the popular sitcom King of the Hill, which ran from 1997 to 2010.

46. Coco Jones – “ICU”

High Standardz/Def Jam, 2022

Debuting as an actress on shows like Bel-Air, Coco Jones made it known she was a multifaceted star with the release of 2022’s What I Didn’t Tell You. On the hit single “ICU,” a ballad inspired by generations of Southern soul, Coco’s vocal abilities are put on full display as she pours her heart out about a fading love she can’t shake. Equally personal and relatable, “ICU” helped Coco establish herself among R&B’s next generation.

Spotify Streams: 47,034,663

Fun Fact:  “ICU” earned Coco her first Grammy earlier this year (Best R&B song).

45. Tems – “Higher”

Leading Vibes, 2020

There’s no mistaking Tems’s voice on a track. And it’s songs like “Higher that have made the Nigerian talent’s unique vocals instantly recognizable across the globe. “Higher” showcases the power and delicate texture of Tems’s voice as she effortlessly jumps between singing and rapping. But more than just a display of technical excellence, Tems’s talent as a songwriter is also on full display, which elevates the song from a hot track into an experience. 

Spotify Streams: 118,718,382

Fun Fact: “Higher” was sampled on Future‘s “WAIT FOR U,” which debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, earning Tems her first number-one song on the chart.

44. Summer Walker ft. SZA – “No Love” 

LVRN/Interscope, 2022

Like many R&B greats, Summer Walker has the rare ability to draw you into a song with her voice alone. On “No Love,” her languid, blues-inflected 2021 single featuring SZA, both artists reach into their bag of vocal tricks as they swear off romance in favor of uncomplicated fun. As the beat drops in and out, the duo use their voices like instruments, switching up their tones and cadences so that the track never once reaches a lull. 

Spotify Streams: 248,632,539

Fun Fact: This is the first and only time SZA and Summer Walker have collaborated.

43. Miguel ft. Travis Scott – “Sky Walker”

RCA, 2017

Over the course of his career, Miguel has never been one to play things safe—or settle into a single lane when it comes to his sound. On “Sky Walker,” the lead single from his 2017 album War & Leisure, the LA native absorbed the trap influences surrounding pop music at the time and turned them into one of his biggest hits to date. Bringing Travis Scott along for the ride, the pair float over feathery synths as they celebrate their wins and shrug off the critics.

Spotify Streams: 579,701,805

Fun Fact: Miguel is a huge Star Wars fan.

42. Daniel Caesar – “Japanese Denim”

Golden Child, 2016

Initially overlooked, Japanese Denim languished in the long shadow of Daniel Caesar’s breakout hit “Get You” when it was first released in 2016. But once fans started to dig deeper into the Canadian’s catalog a few years later, they discovered a Southern-fried gem of a tune. As Daniel croons over bluesy, reverb-soaked guitars that would have been at home on any Stax Records single from the ’60s, “Japanese Denim” is reminiscent of D’Angelo and Otis Redding at their best and carries on the tradition of classic soul ballads.

Spotify Streams: 524,032,842

Fun Fact: Daniel’s infamous “blue jeans” were a pair of A.P.C. Denim.

41. Lucky Daye – “Over”

RCA, 2021 

Having found early success with singles like “Roll Some Mo” and “How Much Can A Heart Take,” Lucky Daye established himself as one of R&B’s marquee names with his 2021 single “Over.” Inspired by sounds of the early 2000s, “Over” updates the sounds of that era and chronicles the maddening confusion of a hot-and-cold romance as Lucky’s sleek, emotive vocals perfectly capture the emotional toll it inflicts.

Spotify Streams: 192,213,995

Fun Fact:  This song samples Musiq Soulchild’s “Halfcrazy.”

40. Anderson .Paak – “Am I Wrong”

Artclub/Empire/OBE, 2015

A favorite among critics since his breakthrough release Malibu, Anderson .Paak hit a high watermark with that album’s standout track, “Am I Wrong.” Concocting a silky blend of disco, funk, electro, and hip-hop, Anderson’s trademark raspy vocals bounce, rock, skate, and roll on the track as Schoolboy Q adds the perfect level of spice to one of the streaming era’s more unexpected club bangers.

Spotify Streams: 97,888,078

Fun Fact: “Am I Wrong” producer Pomo and Anderson also collaborated on Mac Miller’s “Dang.”

39. Brent Faiyaz – “Trust” 

Lost Kids/Human Re-Sources, 2018

Even when he debuted as part of the shadowy trio Sonder, Brent Faiyaz’s ascent to stardom always felt inevitable. With his 2018 hit “Trust,” the singer showed why he had been on tastemaker radars in the years leading up. Similar to R&B forebears like The-Dream, Brent’s feathery tenor becomes one more instrument on the sparse, upbeat track. Playing off the drum’s bouncy rhythm, he gives every lyric room to play in space, infusing the track with a haunted moodiness that captures listeners’ attention from the very first listen.

Spotify Streams: 502,284,422

Fun Fact: “Trust” was Brent’s first RIAA certification. The song is now double Platinum.

38. PARTYNEXTDOOR ft. Drake – “Come and See Me” 

OVO Sound/Warner, 2016

Good things usually happen when PARTYNEXTDOOR and Drake team up on the same song, and the slow-burning “Come And See Me” is no exception.Over little more than a stuttering hi-hat and a snare that sounds like a grandfather clock in the dead of night, the pair unload their 4 a.m. confessionals over the 40-produced track, marinating on the moments when the give-and-take of a relationship starts to test those involved.

Spotify Streams: 597,671,766

Fun Fact: The song has been covered or unofficially remixed by Erykah Badu, SZA, Lil Mo, Trey Songz, and PnB Rock.

37. Muni Long – “Hrs & Hrs”

Supergiant/Def Jam, 2021

Having made her name as a songwriter for the likes of Ariana Grande and Rihanna, Muni Long took a star turn herself with “Hrs & Hrs,” reviving the kind of late-’90s soul that only comes on after dark. Evoking the best of Aaliyah, Erykah Badu, and Alicia Keys, the jazzy, smoldering tune topped charts, went viral on social media, and earned a guest feature from Usher on the remix. It ultimately landed Muni a Grammy for Best R&B Performance.

Spotify Streams: 228,804,622

Fun Fact: Long posted a video in December 2021 that led to the “Hrs and Hrs Challenge.” The challenge was popular among the LGBT community, who thought the song meant “Hers and Hers.” She also wrote the song while washing the dishes.

36. Giveon – “Heartbreak Anniversary”

Epic, 2020

In a genre dominated by unique voices, few are more distinct than Giveon’s. After generating buzz with his debut single, “Like I Want You,” and his collab with Drake, “Chicago Freestyle,” Giveon shot into stardom with “Heartbreak Anniversary.” A classic, piano-driven ballad puts the Frank Sinatra-obsessed crooner’s voice front and center, and the distorted guitar licks sprinkled throughout the chorus help imbue the song with a catchiness that slowly creeps up on you.

Spotify Streams: 1,108,272,191

Fun Fact: The song didn’t become a hit until a year later due to a viral trend that began in Southeast Asia; the song went number one in Malaysia and Singapore, respectively.

35. H.E.R. – “Focus” 

RCA, 2016

In a musical landscape where most artists try to seize the spotlight any way they can, H.E.R. has always been content to sit back and let her tunes do the talking. Despite its hushed, dreamlike air, “Focus” screamed volumes when it debuted in 2016. Accompanied by rolling piano keys and lullaby-esque melodies, an exasperated H.E.R. gently begs for the attention of another. While we never find out if her pleas were successful, we do know that the song garnered worldwide attention, an opening salvo that propelled H.E.R. into R&B’s upper echelon.

Spotify Streams: 200,779,908

Fun Fact:  Justin Love, cowriter, revealed that “Focus” is about his mother.

34. Beyoncé – “VIRGO’S GROOVE”

Parkwood/Columbia, 2022

Exuding a smooth and futuristic funkiness, “VIRGO’S GROOVE” sounds like it comes straight from an episode of Soul Train filmed inside the International Space Station. Featuring a Who’s Who of pop and R&B talent—including Brittany “Chi” Coney, Levan Kali, and The-Dream—the song’s aerodynamic synths collide with double-wide bass licks for a modern disco classic. Beyoncé invites listeners to buckle up and blast off for a rollicking ride through the stars.

Spotify Streams: 93,472,613

Fun Fact: According to Levan, the process for “VIRGO’S GROOVE” took “two to three years” with an “incredibly collaborative process” to integrate the song into the larger project.

33. Frank Ocean – “Chanel”

Blonded, 2017

More than a follow-up single to Frank Ocean’s universally worshiped album Blonde, “Chanel” is a deeply personal statement of sexuality and identity from one of music’s most reclusive stars and touches on the many dualities that exist in his life. Over the dusty, cha-cha-cha-inspired Frank Dukes beat, Ocean opens up about his experiences as a bisexual Black male and his struggles with the stereotypical, preconceived roles the world expects him to fit into.

Spotify Streams: 732,067,164

Fun Fact: Ocean premiered the track online, where he looped variations of it for an hour.

32. Victoria Monét – “On My Mama”

RCA, 2023

Logging more than a decade as one of Ariana Grande’s go-to songwriters (credits on “thank u, next,” “7 rings,” and “34+35”), Victoria Monét has mastered the art of the hit song. With “On My Mama,” she proves that she’s equally adept carrying the spotlight as a solo artist. Combining her infectious hooks with production that draws influence from Chalie Boy’s “I Look Good.” Victoria delivers an anthem preaching self-confidence that should be obligatory listening before any big night out.

Spotify Streams: 101,982,284

Fun Fact: Victoria previewed “On My Mama” at her first headlining show, presented by Spotify in March 2023.

31. Rihanna – “Love On The Brain”

Roc Nation, 2016

Widely considered among the best vocal performances of Rihanna’s career, “Love On The Brain” is a testament to the icon’s versatility and her ability to record across genres. Over the gentle swing of the doo-wop ballad, Rihanna’s rough-edged alto proves to be a magnetic combination, helping “Love On The Brain” swell into one of ANTI’s most enduring songs—a true classic in the singer’s illustrious catalog of hits.

Spotify Streams: 1,423,947,646

Fun Fact: “Love on the Brain” was the first song commissioned for Rihanna’s album ANTI.

30. SZA – “Broken Clocks”

Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA, 2018

In an era where attention is fleeting and singular cultural moments increasingly rare, SZA’s debut album, Ctrl, stood out for its ability to command the world’s attention for well over a year. As the fourth of Ctrl’s five official singles—all certified double Platinum at least—“Broken Clocks” offered one more piece of evidence that the singer was in a creative zone during the album’s creation. Over trap drums and pitch-shifted vocal samples, SZA drops a jazzy ode to a former flame with the power to keep her feelings frozen in time. 

Spotify Streams: 582,595,453

Fun Fact: “Broken Clocks” samples “West,” which was performed and written by River Tiber and Daniel Caesar.

29. Tems – “Free Mind”

Leading Vibes, 2022

Originally released in 2020 as part of Tems’s debut EP, For Broken Ears, it wasn’t until 2022 that “Free Mind” clicked with fans. Not an official single at the time, its viral streaming success sent the song shooting up the charts and is still Tems’s biggest solo hit to date. Recorded with little more than a laptop and a portable keyboard, the song makes you feel every last bit of angst in Tems’s voice as she sings about the obstacles that stand in the way of her and mental peace.

Spotify Streams: 144,520,147

Fun Fact: “Free Mind” is the third song to reach number one on Billboard’s U.S. Afrobeats chart.

28. Solange ft. Sampha – “Don’t Touch My Hair”

Saint/Columbia, 2016

A literal reference to a racially loaded act, “Don’t Touch My Hair” puts a voice to the indignity regularly experienced by Black people worldwide. Uniting two musical vanguards in Solange and Sampha, the song also serves as a larger commentary on white supremacy, misogyny, and body autonomy, expressing what it means to exist in a world that treats you with hostility. Backed by blaring horns on the chorus, the pair adopt “What you say to me?” as a refrain of protest against those who won’t respect boundaries or make space for others.

Spotify Streams: 55,217,137

Fun Fact: The song’s music video features different hairstyles such as Marcel waves, beaded braids, afros, looped braids, etc. The hair styling for the video was done by Nikki Nelms.

27. The Internet ft. KAYTRANADA – “Girl”

Columbia, 2015

The Internet was one of the more welcome surprises to form from the early-2010s big bang that was Odd Future, serving up a self-assured vision of cosmic funk and soul. “Girl” sits at the heart of their third album, Ego Death. Rolling along with KAYTRANADA’s signature off-kilter drums, Syd uses her delicate vocals to explain all the reasons why she and the object of her affection should be together. It’s an electro-influenced slow burner that adds a touch of swagger to the group’s tried-and-true formula. 

Spotify Streams: 143,818,667

Fun Fact: “Girl” is The Internet’s most-streamed song on Spotify.

26. Summer Walker ft. Bryson Tiller – “Playing Games”

LVRN/Interscope, 2019

Pairing two of the biggest names from R&B’s new wave, “Playing Games” immediately proved that Summer Walker’s initial success was no fluke. Like many of Summer’s best hits, the two-and-a-half minute track never overstays its welcome as she and Bryson Tiller air their grievances over the other’s perceived commitment issues, matching each other’s stormy emotions as they’re put on display for the world to consume.

Spotify Streams: 419,707,519

Fun Fact:  The song samples Destiny’s Child‘s song “Say My Name” (1999).

25. Jhené Aiko ft. Swae Lee – “Sativa” 

ARTium/Def Jam, 2018

Jhené Aiko always had a knack for churning out hits that felt like they were recorded in the clouds. But on “Sativa” she refined her trademark sound to perfection. Bringing Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee along for a Zero-G trip through a blissed-out beat as airy as Jhené’s voice, the pair wax poetic about taking time to chill out and enjoy life’s moments for what they are.

Spotify Streams: 452,820,929

Fun Fact:  “Sativa” is Jhené ’s most streamed Spotify song to date.

24. Beyoncé – “Plastic Off the Sofa” 

Parkwood/Columbia, 2022

When you compare “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” to the other songs on RENAISSANCE, it sticks out like a sore thumb. But that’s hardly a bad thing. Featuring songwriting and production contributions from Syd and Sabrina Claudio, the song takes a stylistic detour from the crunchy, futuristic sounds spanning the rest of the album. Instead, it delivers a softer, more organic sound that could even be described as vintage. While it essentially functions as a mid-album intermission, the song still very much stands on its own, highlighting Beyoncé’s underappreciated ear for the sort of subtle and nuanced mid-tempo jams that comprise her best deep cuts.

Spotify Streams: 86,909,593

Fun Fact: Though not a single, “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA won a Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance in 2023.

23. Bryson Tiller – “Exchange” 

RCA, 2016

The second single from Bryson Tiller’s landmark album T R A P S O U L, “Exchange” proved that the budding talent was no one-hit wonder. The song’s brooding, melodramatic production serves as the perfect backdrop for Bryson’s late-night tales of woe and regret, casting himself as a victim of love as he lays bare his self-inflicted wounds.

Spotify Streams: 944,955,118

Fun Fact: The song contains a sample of K.P. & Envyi‘s 1998 hit “Swing My Way.”

22. SZA ft. Travis Scott – “Love Galore” 

TDE/RCA, 2017

More than any other song, “Love Galore” marked the turning point for SZA where she went from an artist on the rise to a bona fide superstar. Released in advance of her debut album, Ctrl, the song quickly caught on with fans thanks in part to the dreamy, tropical atmosphere the beat casts over the song, and a cameo from a red-hot Travis Scott. But it’s SZA’s performance that’s the main attraction here, as she delivers the sorts of melodic earworms that are near impossible to get out of your head.

Spotify Streams: 794,436,723

Fun Fact: According to SZA, the “I Love on my ladies/Love to my ladies/Dated a few” line is true.

21. Wizkid ft. Tems – “Essence”

Starboy/RCA, 2020

By our not-so-scientific observations, it only takes the first two lines of “Essence” for a listener to be drawn into its orbit. Trading serpentine melodies over an Afrobeats riddim that bounces along at a leisurely pace, Wizkid and Tems generate a heat on the track that can turn the coldest winter day into a sultry summer vibe. Fans around the world responded in kind, helping turn “Essence” into one of the biggest tracks to ever come out of Africa.

Spotify Streams: 230,735,273

Fun Fact: “Essence” is the first Nigerian song in history to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Global 200.

20. Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open” 

Atlantic, 2021

Conceived as a joke between friends, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak’s Silk Sonic side project became quite real during the pandemic. And when the project’s lead single, “Leave The Door Open,” dropped, its throwback soul sound instantly resonated with fans—perhaps to an extent neither artist expected. A sultry ballad evoking the dustiest late-night grooves from the ’70s, the hit perfectly melds the Top 40 sensibilities of Bruno with the indie leanings of Anderson and would ultimately go on to win Song of the Year at the 2022 Grammys. Not bad for an idea that began as an afterthought.

Spotify Streams: 1,269,678,632

Fun Fact: The bridge of the song “almost broke the band up,” according to Bruno.

19. Summer Walker – “Girls Need Love” 

LVRN/Interscope, 2018

Summer Walker’s greatest strength as a songwriter is her ability to drop the pretense and say the quiet part out loud. On her 2018 breakout hit, “Girls Need Love,” the Atlanta singer does not hide behind metaphors as she laments the double standards society lobs at her honesty. Like most of her debut EP, Last Day Of Summer, “Girls Need Love” plays out like a slowed-down trap banger emerging from the ether, setting the mood for Summer’s plainspoken manifesto about the universal desire for physical affection.

Spotify Streams: 315,977,925

Fun Fact: Drake heard the song and DM’d Summer on social media about doing a remix.

18. Miguel ft. J. Cole – “Come Through and Chill”

RCA, 2018

Given the personalities involved, it’d be reasonable to assume that “Come Thru and Chill” was the first time that Miguel, J. Cole, and producer Salaam Remi had all worked together. However, they first crossed paths on Miguel’s 2010 major-label debut, “All I Want Is You.” After reuniting in 2017, the trio proved you can recapture lightning in a bottle—with even greater success. Conjuring that original magic, the musical heavyweights mix R&B, hip-hop, and vintage soul to great effect, creating a drowsy, cloudy vibe that fully envelops you from the moment you hit play.

Spotify Streams: 240,100,017

Fun Fact: Miguel originally uploaded a version of the song to his SoundCloud page in June 2016 without J. Cole on it.

17. SZA – “Good Days” 

Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA, 2020

Good Days” reunites SZA with producer Carter Lang, who was vital to shaping the sound of her opus, Ctrl. Combining the pop sensibilities of her debut album while revisiting some of the more adventurous ideas from earlier releases—including her trip-hop and synth pop-tinged EP Zthe track incorporates those stylistic cues in the effortless manner the world has come to expect. Over the shimmering, rippling instrumental, SZA makes a case for solitude—mental and physical—when the weight of the world feels like too much to bear.

Spotify Streams: 1,033,933,774

Fun Fact: SZA first teased the song in July 2020 on her Instagram stories. She then featured it at the end of the music video for “Hit Different” in September 2020.

16. Beyoncé – “Formation” 

Parkwood/Columbia, 2016

Like the rest of her autobiographical concept album, Lemonade, “Formation” sees Beyoncé mining her personal life for inspiration. But unlike some of the album’s heavier moments, the hit single takes a lighter, more playful approach as the pop monolith lets the world know exactly where she comes from. Working over a Mike WiLL Made-It beat that sounds like some Dirty South funk snatched from the year 4000, Bey doesn’t hold back an ounce of pride, leading to the iconic moment where she tells you everything that goes into making a Texas Bama. 

Spotify Streams: 309,235,872

Fun Fact:  Beyoncé performed it during her guest appearance at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show the day after its premiere. “Formation” was also Google’s most-searched song of 2016.

15. The Weeknd – “Die For You” 

XO/Republic, 2017

One of R&B’s preeminent ice lords, The Weeknd underwent a moment of sobering self-examination on “Die For You,” revealing the emotions that swirl in his head in those quiet times between sleep and the nightlife. Over the course of four and a half minutes, the Toronto native stumbles through unfamiliar territory, admitting from the jump that his attempts at opening up are, at best, clumsy. But even with Starboy’s willingness to flash his more human side, it wasn’t until 2023 that the song truly resonated with fans, going viral on TikTok and earning the unique distinction as the song with the longest climb to number one on the charts.

Spotify Streams: 2,156,988,175

Fun Fact: The song’s viral moment led to a new video and remix featuring Ariana Grande; it became the fourth-best-selling single of 2023.

14. Daniel Caesar – “Get You”

Golden Child, 2016

Sometimes less is more, and in the case of “Get You” it works to great effect for Daniel Caesar and Kali Uchis. Each of the song’s individual aspects are unassuming on their own—whether it be the lazy drawl of the production or the restrained vocals from both artists—but when combined, a strange alchemy turns it into pure gold. The first single from Daniel’s timeless debut album, Freudian, the hit was a breakthrough moment for the Toronto singer, providing the spark for a career that has burned brightly ever since.

Spotify Streams: 972,868,310

Fun Fact: There were two alternate versions of “Get You” that were made before Daniel and his producers found the right groove for the song.

13. Ella Mai – “Boo’d Up” 

RCA, 2018

Discovered on social media by Mustard, Ella Mai struck up a creative partnership with the West Coast superproducer, eventually leading to her 2018 summer smash “Boo’d Up.” Inspired by an obscure sample (the Johnny Gill deep cut “There U Go” off the Boomerang OST), the throwback vibe of the production showcases Mustard’s versatility behind the boards; Ella wastes no time jumping in with her smooth and soulful vocals. The result is one of the most laid-back hits of the past decade and the perfect song to throw on in the car.

Spotify Streams: 356,933,330

Fun Fact: “Boo’d Up” rose in popularity on social media as well as in nightclubs, notably in the Bay Area, but the song truly grew on radio airplay in the spring of 2018.

12. SZA – “The Weekend”

RCA, 2017

The ’90s slow jam is something of a lost art, but on “The Weekend,” SZA and producer ThankGod4Cody do their part to make sure it doesn’t go extinct. Evoking the likes of SWV, Jodeci, and Mary J. Blige, the multipart harmonies and molasses-coated bass line take you back to the era when late-night radio dedications were still a thing. But before you get too lost in a wave of nostalgia, SZA pulls you back into the streaming era with her inimitable voice, running through the complexities of an increasingly messy situationship.

Spotify Streams: 518,821,458

Fun Fact: The song samples “Set the Mood Prelude” from Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds.

11. Childish Gambino – “Redbone”

McDJ/Glassnote, 2016

Including Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” on any best-of list is one of the least controversial acts you could commit in 2024. But prior to its release in 2016, Donald Glover’s swerve into funk- and soul-inflected R&B was a force of nature few saw coming. Starting with Bootsy’s Rubber Band’s “I’d Rather Be With You” as a sonic blueprint, the multi-hyphenate talent takes the sprawling funk classic and streamlines it until its most affecting parts are all that remain. But it’s Donald’s vocal performance that produces the biggest surprise, revealing a jaw-dropping falsetto that still has people arguing about whether or not it’s actually him on the mic.

Spotify Streams: 1,573,818,501

Fun Fact: 2017’s Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele, features the song during the film’s opening scene. The song originally debuted at number 75 on Billboard Hot 100. In 2017, it reentered and peaked at number 12.

10. Chris Brown ft. Drake – “No Guidance”

RCA, 2019

Despite their status as rap and R&B titans, Chris Brown and Drake hadn’t found much time to collaborate, in part due to a public feud that spanned nearly a decade. So when the duo joined forces on “No Guidance” in 2019, fans finally got the moment they had been anticipating for years. And it didn’t disappoint.

Trading lines over a sleek, bouncy track that’s as suited for the club as it is an evening at home, the pair brings out the best in each other as Drake’s aloof flows perfectly complement Chris’s passion-filled vocals. “No Guidance” would go on to be one of 2019’s biggest songs as it quickly topped charts and broke records en route to a Grammy nomination for Best R&B song and a spot in Spotify’s Billions Club.

Spotify Streams: 1,011,146,574

Fun Fact: Production contains an uncredited vocal sample of “Before I Die” written and performed by Che Ecru.

9. Jazmine Sullivan – “Pick Up Your Feelings”

RCA, 2020

If there’s any artist who can say they paid their dues en route to stardom, it’s Jazmine Sullivan. Having spent two decades encountering her share of ups and downs, one of R&B’s best finally get her proper dues with Heaux Tales. The fanfare and acclaim surrounding its release was entirely justified.

Of the album’s many high points, it’s “Pick Up Your Feelings” that truly stands out as a perfect distillation of Jazmine’s best artistic qualities—knowing nods to classic soul, a willingness to explore the personal corners of her life with an unflinching honesty, and the vocal chops to make any song uniquely hers.

Spotify Streams: 80,405,429

Fun Fact: “Pick Up Your Feelings” won the first-ever tie for Best R&B Performance with Silk Sonic’s “Leave The Door Open.”

8. Rihanna – “Needed Me”

Roc Nation, 2016

While R&B had already been drifting in outer space sonically, “Needed Me” pushed the genre to the farthest edges of the universe. Featuring Mustard on the beat, the sparsely arranged blips, distorted warbles, and chainsaw synths create an icy, expansive soundscape for Rihanna to explore with her laissez-faire delivery.

But “Needed Me” is more than just the biggest song on Rihanna’s biggest album. It’s a snapshot of a singer and producer working together at their creative and commercial peaks, pushing the boundaries of pop music and redefining what a hit song can be. Far from the upbeat, energetic tracks that typically top the charts, this is a pitch-black ballad that creeps along at a glacial pace. The song’s ambition doesn’t come at the expense of its catchiness, however, as it creates a potent combination that elevates the song to one of the streaming era’s best.

Spotify Streams: 1,435,951,281

Fun Fact: “Needed Me” is Rihanna’s 29th Hot 100 top-10 hit, tying her with Michael Jackson for the third-most Hot 100 top 10s, and trailing only behind Madonna (38) and The Beatles (34). It notably became her longest charting Hot 100 hit, surpassing the 41-week run of “We Found Love.”

7. Summer Walker – “Session 32”

LVRN/Interscope, 2018

Summer Walker’s 2018 debut single, “Session 32,” represented a left turn from the R&B status quo upon its release. Instead of the maximal, futuristic production that had dominated the genre over the previous decade, a lone acoustic guitar is front and center on a stripped-back track, establishing a raw and moody atmosphere for Summer to croon over.

Most compellingly, the newcomer adopted an unapologetically confessional approach to songwriting, tapping into a level of honesty and vulnerability rivaled only by the likes of SZA and Jhené Aiko. In less than two minutes, “Session 32” places listeners in the end stages of a crumbling relationship, moving through a haze of sadness, relief, anger, uncertainty, and yearning as Summer tries to figure out what went wrong.

A classic ballad that showcases one of music’s most distinct songwriters, “Session 32″ also introduced the world to one of the most influential voices in R&B today.

Spotify Streams: 250,211,565

Fun Fact: “Session 32” was Summer’s first-ever release, which was self-produced and recorded at her home. (You can even hear the fire alarm battery in the background.)

6. Solange – “Cranes in the Sky”

Saint/Columbia, 2016

After spending the previous six years dabbling in ’60s soul on Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Sol, and ’80s new wave on True, a creatively rejuvenated Solange resurfaced in 2016 with A Seat at the Table, an album that not only revealed a new sound for the artist but provided a thesis on the past, present, and future of Black music and culture.

Serving as the album’s centerpiece, “Cranes in the Sky” puts Solange’s songwriting talents on full display as she meditates on life’s overwhelming moments and her attempts to chill, spend, and party them away. Walking the line between traditional pop structures and free-flowing experimentation, Solange lets each part of the song softly melt into the next, blurring the distinctions between verse and chorus. 

All the while, the Raphael Saadiq-produced track follows a laid-back groove that never rises above a simmer, seamlessly blending R&B, soul, funk, and jazz into a strikingly unique work that would take home a Grammy for Best R&B performance.

Spotify Streams: 153,013,700

Fun Fact: Solange wrote “Cranes in the Sky” eight years before the album’s release, in the aftermath of her break-up with the father of her child.

5. Bryson Tiller – “Don’t”

RCA, 2015

Bryson Tiller was hardly the first artist to combine trap and R&B sensibilities on the same song when he hit with “Don’t.” But what set the Louisville singer apart from his like-minded peers was how cohesively he merged those sounds together.

Across the song’s runtime, Bryson doesn’t just flip between singing or rapping. He accomplishes both in equal measure, riding a beat that would suit Frank Ocean just as well as Future. And while his desire for a woman he can’t have is well-traveled territory in music, “Don’t” introduced the world to a shameless brand of pettiness and toxicity that would prove irresistible to an entire generation of music fans.

Few songs have had a greater impact on the evolution of hip-hop and R&B as “Don’t,” with Tiller’s trapsoul sound becoming ubiquitous in the aftermath of the smash hit’s release. Its stratospheric success not only established Tiller as one of the major voices in the streaming era of R&B, but it also played an outsized part in solidifying a creative and commercial lane for countless others to follow.

Spotify Streams: 1,224,790,966

Fun Fact: The last “Don’t” is timestamped at exactly 2:40.

4. Beyoncé – “CUFF IT”

Parkwood/Columbia, 2022

When the world emerged from the pandemic in the summer of 2022, many were ready to blow off some steam. And in a moment of impeccable timing, Beyoncé arrived with her seventh album, RENAISSANCE. A 62-minute party on the surface, the album filters the dancefloor legacies of Chicago, Detroit, and New York through an afrofuturist pop lens to remind the world that electronic and club music is Black music.

And it was “CUFF IT” that grabbed the world’s attention. Flaunting an embarrassment of riches in the song credits, Bey unites three of music’s greatest songwriters in Nile Rodgers, Raphael Saadiq, and The-Dream, who pull from the most revelrous corners of disco, house, funk, and R&B to create a pop masterpiece.

Featuring the trademark bass lines, guitar licks, and four-on-the-floor beats that recall Rodgers’s time as a member of CHIC, Beyoncé sets the table stakes from the start when she says “I feel like falling in love/I’m gonna f**k something up/I need some drink in my cup.” Sonically, “CUFF IT” is nothing short of a cathartic let-out tapping into the spirit of earlier Beyoncé hits like “Crazy In Love,” “Love On Top,” and “Drunk in Love,” and supplying a perfect tonic for the time.

Spotify Streams: 769,533,925

Fun Fact: The song was originally meant for Tony! Toni! Toné!, but Raphael Saadiq decided to send it to Beyoncé. She initially accepted the demo but had forgotten about it until The-Dream found it.

3. Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. – “Best Part”

Golden Child, 2017

Looking at the class of artists who rose to fame in the streaming era, few sit higher than Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. On “Best Part,” the two team up and put their unique talents on display for the world to hear. 

A duet in the truest sense, the song is kept to the bare minimum as elements of pop and indie are stacked onto its R&B foundation. Over an acoustic guitar, organ flourishes, and rhythmic snaps, H.E.R. takes the lead on the first half of the song and is given acres of space, letting the nuances of her soothing voice come to the fore. Daniel then joins her, subtly raising the energy of the track until it reaches its crescendo on the refrain, with the two pleading for the affection of a lover. 

“Best Part” represents much more than a massively successful collaboration between two rising artists. It’s a monument frozen in time, marking the exact location where the pair simultaneously evolved into generational stars.

Spotify Streams: 1,292,644,962

Fun Fact: Daniel and H.E.R. made “Best Part” in the studio the very first day they met.

2. Frank Ocean – “Pink + White”

Boys Don’t Cry, 2016

When Frank Ocean released Blonde in 2016, he had already established himself as R&B’s leading auteur. With releases like Nostalgia, Ultra, and Channel Orange to his name, he had an army of devoted fans willing to follow him to the fringes of the musical landscape. And Frank took full advantage of this creative freedom on his 2016 landmark album, leading his faithful followers into the outer realms, where the boundaries separating genres cease to exist.

It’s the Pharrell Williams-produced “Pink + White” that stands out—not only as the gold standard for R&B experimentation, but for its background vocals that were amazingly supplied by Beyoncé. In the context of the album it sets the tone for the album’s blurry approach, anchoring the many free-flowing songs that follow. On its own, the song thrives on creative tension as Frank toes the line between structureless songwriting and pop formalism, navigating the conceptual divide with an uncanny confidence.

Most importantly, “Pink + White” heralded a sea change where R&B’s biggest stars would step beyond accepted conventions and discover possibilities that pushed the genre forward into a new era.

Spotify Streams: 1,194,418,867

Fun Fact: “Pink + White” is Frank Ocean’s most-streamed Spotify song of all time with over 1 billion streams.

1. SZA – “Snooze”

Top Dawg Entertainment/RCA, 2023

Following up a creative and commercial achievement like Ctrl is no easy feat, but when SZA released her long-awaited follow-up, SOS, she made it look like a walk in the park. Coincidentally, the song also sounds like a walk in the park in the best way. 

Building on the far-reaching scope of her previous album, SZA reaches new heights on the sun-drenched single “Snooze.” True to the song’s title, the production carries a drowsy air, with slack, blues-inspired guitar licks and a beat that’s softer than a down pillow. With Leon Thomas and the legendary Babyface signed on as coproducers and cowriters, the pair bring a polish to the track that never compromises SZA’s most unique attribute: her voice.

Despite the fact that she’s usually surrounded by exquisite production work, SZA’s vocals rarely fail to steal the show of any track she blesses. And on “Snooze,” as she coos about the importance of not sleeping on the love of her life (figuratively speaking), music and lyrics intertwine harmoniously. Even while delivering one of her more restrained performances in recent memory, SZA’s voice stands apart. 

In the context of R&B’s elite, it’s this precise quality that—creatively—puts SZA head and shoulders above the pack, and a huge reason why “Snooze” sits alone as the greatest R&B song of the streaming era.

Spotify Streams: 886,508,230

Fun Fact: “Snooze” peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the only song that spent all of 2023 charting there. It also won a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2024.

Now that you’ve read the list, listen to the 100 Greatest R&B Songs of the Streaming Era in our Spotify CLASSICS hub. (Note: Playlist and hub only available in North America)