Spotify have collected the very best of R&B since 2015 to collect the ultimate songs and the best playlist.

Spotify is back with the second chapter of its CLASSICS program, this time spotlighting the 100 Greatest R&B Songs of the Streaming Era (2015-present). Featuring contemporary classics and timeless records, the list breaks down 100 songs that defined the R&B genre in the last decade.

After a period of self-discovery in the early 2010s, R&B has exploded in the streaming era. This curated list reflects a genre that seamlessly blends elements of hip-hop, pop, Afrobeats, electronic, alternative, and indie, creating a vibrant and dynamic sound.

Compiled by Spotify’s US editorial team led by Carl Chery, Creative Director, Head of Urban Music, this list prioritizes quality over chart success. Songs were chosen based on artistic merit, cultural impact, lasting appeal, and influence, ensuring a diverse and representative selection.

We’re going to include the top 10 below.

Spotify’s Top 10 Modern Classic R&B Songs

10. Chris Brown ft. Drake – No Guidance

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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 RodgersRaphael 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

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

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

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.

Spotify’s new CLASSICS series began in February looking at Hip-Hop and R&B to compile the greatest records of the genre through the streaming era. They collected the top 30 albums since 2015 in the Hip-Hop and R&B genre.