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Looking for love on the Billboard Hot 100: 2009

10 years ago, love songs by black artists become harder to find on the year-end chart

Where did the love go? Specifically, what happened to popular black love songs?

The year-end Billboard Hot 100 charts are widely regarded as the best measure of America’s most popular songs. We compiled numbers from the Billboard charts for the last five years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), and for 10-year intervals over the past 50 years (1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009). These charts show a decrease in love songs by black performers. (To see our story on the reasons behind the change, click here.)

How did we define a love song?

Love songs give voice to humanity’s most powerful emotion, that alchemy of need, companionship and commitment that can include, but also transcends, the physical. Songs that only talk about sex are not counted as love songs. Songs that talk about heartbreak, lost love, etc. are counted as love songs. Our definition of love songs includes those dealing with dysfunctional aspects of love: domestic and emotional abuse, cheating, and other unhealthy or harmful situations. We call these songs “tainted love.”

We recognize the subjective and malleable nature of “black music.” Is the salsa remake “I Like It” by Afro-Latino Cardi B an example of “black music”? What about work by Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny or the Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin? Reasonable people can disagree … but Cardi B says “n—a” in the song, so that’s gotta be black music. We include Bruno Mars as making black music because he’s way too fonky.

Songs by white performers that “feature” black artists are not counted as work by black artists on our list. Nor are songs by white artists who perform in a black style (with the non-negotiable exception of Bobby Caldwell). We are analyzing black music. Nothing by Post Malone is black music, even if he has a black artist performing on that particular song. Same for Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, etc. We do not count Eminem as producing black music because his fan base is overwhelmingly white. Don’t @ me.

Here are the receipts for 2009:

Guide to reading the chart: Black artists are in bold, love songs are all CAPS, and rap songs are in italics. On the year-end Billboard Hot 100 for 2009, there were:

43 songs by black artists.

Of that 43, there were 14 LOVE SONGS BY BLACK ARTISTS


  1. “Boom Boom Pow” (Black Eyed Peas)
  2. “Poker Face” (Lady Gaga)
  3. “Just Dance” (Lady Gaga feat. Colby O’Donis)
  4. “I Gotta Feeling” (Black Eyed Peas)
  5. “LOVE STORY” (Taylor Swift)
  6. “Right Round” (Flo Rida)
  7. “I’M YOURS” (Jason Mraz)
  8. “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” (Beyoncé)

    Kanye West performs at the Casio G-Shock Shock The World Tour at Cipriani, Wall Street on Aug. 5, 2009, in New York City.

    Photo by Jerritt Clark/FilmMagic

  9. “HEARTLESS” (Kayne West)
  10. “Gives You Hell” (The All-American Rejects)
  11. “YOU BELONG WITH ME” (Taylor Swift)
  12. “Dead and Gone” (T.I. feat. Justin Timberlake)
  13. “You Found Me” (The Fray)
  14. “Use Somebody” (Kings of Leon)
  15. “KNOCK YOU DOWN” (Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo)
  16. “Blame It” (Jamie Foxx feat. T Pain)
  17. “I Know You Want Me” (Calle Ocho) (Pitbull)
  18. Liv“e Your Life” (T.I. feat. Rihanna)
  19. “KISS ME THRU THE PHONE” (Soulja Boy feat. Sammie)
  20. “DOWN” (Jay Sean feat. Lil Wayne)
  21. “The Climb” (Miley Cyrus)
  22. “Best I Ever Had”(Drake)
  23. “MY LIFE WOULD SUCK WITHOUT YOU” (Kelly Clarkson)
  24. “HALO” (Beyoncé)
  25. “Hot N Cold” (Katy Perry)
  26. “Second Chance” (Shinedown)
  27. “Circus” (Britney Spears)
  28. “Day ’N’ Nite” (Kid Cudi)
  29. “Party in the U.S.A.” (Miley Cyrus)
  30. “Don’t Trust Me” (3OH!3)
  31. “Run This Town” (Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West)
  32. “Let It Rock” (Kevin Rudolf feat. Lil Wayne)
  33. “Fire Burning” (Sean Kingston)
  34. “WHATCHA SAY” (Jason Derulo)
  35. “LOVEGAME” (Lady Gaga)
  36. “Waking Up in Vegas” (Katy Perry)
  37. “Birthday Sex” (Jeremih)
  38. “Sober” (P!nk)
  39. “Womanizer” (Britney Spears)

    Jordin Sparks performs at Y 100 Jingle Ball 2009 at Bank Atlantic Center on Dec. 12, 2009, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    Photo by John Parra/WireImage

  40. “Whatever You Like” (T.I.)
  41. “Obsessed” (Mariah Carey)
  42. “MAD” (Ne-Yo)
  43. “Good Girls Go Bad” (Cobra Starship feat. Leighton Meester)
  44. “LOVE LOCKDOWN”(Kanye)
  45. “So What” (P!nk)
  46. “Hotel Room Service” (Pitbull)
  47. “Crack a Bottle” (Eminem, Dre and 50 Cent)
  48. “IF I WERE A BOY” (Beyoncé)
  49. “Turnin Me On” (Keri Hilson feat. Lil Wayne)
  50. “I HATE THIS PART” (The Pussycat Dolls)
  51. “GOTTA BE SOMEBODY” (Nickelback)
  52. “PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME” (P!nk)
  53. “PAPARAZZI” (Lady Gaga)
  54. “Beautiful” (Akon feat. Colby O’Donis & Kardinal Offishall)
  55. “Viva la Vida (Coldplay)
  56. “Right Now (Na Na Na)” (Akon)
  57. “BATTLEFIELD” (Jordin Sparks)
  58. “Sugar” (Flo Rida feat. Wynter)
  59. “Miss Independent ”(Ne-Yo)
  60. “Fireflies” (Owl City)
  61. “New Divide” (Linkin Park)
  62. “Empire State of Mind” (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys)
  63. “NO SURPRISE” (Daughtry)
  64. “She Wolf” (Shakira)
  65. “Break Up” (Mario feat. Gucci Mane and Sean Garrett)
  66. “SWEET DREAMS” (Beyoncé)
  67. “Every Girl” (Young Money)
  68. “FALLIN’ FOR YOU” (Colbie Caillat)
  69. “UNTOUCHED” (The Veronicas)
  70. “If Today Was Your Last Day” (Nickelback)
  71. “Throw It In the Bag” (Fabolous feat. The-Dream)
  72. “LOVE DRUNK” (Boys Like Girls)
  73. “I Love College” (Asher Roth)
  74. “If U Seek Amy” (Britney Spears)
  75. “BIG GREEN TRACTOR” (Jason Aldean)

    Maxwell performs at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 28, 2009, in New York.

    Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images

  76. “WHITE HORSE” (Taylor Swift)
  77. “Disturbia” (Rihanna)
  78. “21 GUNS” (Green Day)
  79. “Turn My Swag On” (Soulja Boy)
  80. “Rockin’ That Thang” (The-Dream)
  81. “Chicken Fried” (Zac Brown Band)
  82. “Diva” (Beyoncé)
  83. “REPLAY” (Iyaz)
  84. “THEN” (Brad Paisley)
  85. “HER DIAMONDS” (Rob Thomas)
  86. “HOW DO YOU SLEEP?” (Jesse McCartney feat. Ludacris)
  87. “3” (Britney Spears)
  88. “Forever” (Drake feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem)
  89. “ONE TIME (MY HEART EDITION)” (Justin Bieber)
  90. “I RUN TO YOU” (Lady Antebellum)
  91. “I DO NOT HOOK UP” (Kelly Clarkson)
  92. “Green Light” (John Legend feat. Andre 3000)
  93. “People Are Crazy” (Billy Currington)
  94. “WHATEVER IT IS” (Zac Brown Band)
  95. “ALREADY GONE” (Kelly Clarkson)
  96. “GOODBYE” (Kristinia DeBarge)
  97. “SAY HEY (I LOVE YOU)” (Michael Franti & Spearhead feat. Cherine Anderson)
  98. “Pop Champagne” (Jim Jones feat. Ron Browz and Juelz Santana)
  99. “PRETTY WINGS” (Maxwell)
  100. “Never Say Never” (The Fray)


Liner Notes

Source: Chart ranking by Billboard. Categorization by race and subject matter by Jesse Washington and Taylor Thomas for The Undefeated.

Jesse Washington is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He still gets buckets.