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Looking for love on the Billboard Hot 100: 2019

Khalid and Juice Wrld are among the few black artists singing about love 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 2019:

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 2019, there were:

45 songs by black artists.

Of that 45, there were 7 LOVE SONGS BY BLACK ARTISTS


  1. “Old Town Road” (Lil Nas X)
  2. “SUNFLOWER” (Post Malone & Swae Lee)
  3. “WITHOUT ME” (Halsey)
  4. “BAD GUY” (Billie Eilish)
  5. “Wow” (Post Malone)
  6. “HAPPIER” (Marshmello and Bastille)
  7. “7 Rings” (Ariana Grande)
  8. “TALK (Khalid)
  9. “Sicko Mode” (Travis Scott)
  10. “SUCKER” (Jonas Brothers)

    Juice Wrld performs during the 2019 Rolling Loud Music Festival at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Sept. 29, 2019.

    Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

  11. “High Hopes” (Panic! at the Disco)
  12. “THANK U, NEXT” (Ariana Grande)
  13. “Truth Hurts” (Lizzo)
  14. “Dancing With a Stranger” (Sam Smith & Normani)
  15. “Señorita” (Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello)
  16. “I DON’T CARE” (Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber)
  17. “Eastside” (benny blanco, Halsey & Khalid)
  18. “Going Bad” Meek Mill feat. Drake)
  19. “Shallow” (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  20. “Better” (Khalid)
  21. “No Guidance” (Chris Brown feat. Drake)
  22. “Girls Like You” (Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B)
  23. “Sweet but Psycho” (Ava Max)
  24. “Suge” (DaBaby)
  25. “Middle Child” (J. Cole)
  26. “Drip Too Hard” (Lil Baby & Gunna)
  27. “SOMEONE YOU LOVED” (Lewis Capaldi)
  28. “Ran$om (Lil Tecca)
  29. “IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU” (Shawn Mendes)
  30. “Goodbyes” (Post Malone feat. Young Thug)
  31. “Zeze” (Kodak Black feat. Travis Scott & Offset)
  32. “BETTER NOW” (Post Malone)
  33. “YOUNGBLOOD” (5 Seconds of Summer)
  34. “Money in the Grave” (Drake feat. Rick Ross)

    Rapper Lil Baby performs on stage during Drip Fest at Watsco Center Nov. 15, 2019, in Coral Gables, Florida.

    Photo by Johnny Louis/Getty Images

  35. “SPEECHLESS” (Dan + Shay)
  37. “Please Me” (Cardi B & Bruno Mars)
  38. “Money” (Cardi B)
  39. “You Need to Calm Down” (Taylor Swift)
  40. “Panini” (Lil Nas X)
  41. “Look Back At It” (A Boogie Wit da Hoodie)
  42. “A Lot” (21 Savage feat. J.Cole)
  43. “Me!” (Taylor Swift feat. Brendon Urie)
  44. “MIA (Bad Bunny feat. Drake)
  45. “Pop Out” (Polo G feat. Lil Tjay)
  46. “BEAUTIFUL CRAZY” (Luke Combs)
  47. “Thotiana (Blueface)
  48. “LUCID DREAMS” (Juice WRLD)
  49. “Mo Bamba” (Sheck Wes)
  50. “Beautiful People” (Ed Sheeran feat. Khalid)
  51. “Wake Up in the Sky” (Gucci Mane, Bruno Mars & Kodak Black)
  52. “WHISKEY GLASSES” (Morgan Wallen)
  53. “God’s Country” (Blake Shelton)
  54. “BE ALRIGHT” (Dean Lewis)
  55. “Pure Water” Mustard & Migos)
  56. “The Git Up” (Blanco Brown)
  57. “Taki Taki” (DJ Snake feat. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, & Cardi B)
  58. “CLOSE TO ME” (Ellie Goulding & Diplo feat. Swae Lee)
  59. “Envy Me” (Calboy)
  60. “You Say” (Lauren Daigle)
  61. “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” (Panic! at the Disco)
  62. “CIRCLES” (Post Malone)
  63. “BEER NEVER BROKE MY HEART” (Luke Combs)
  64. “The London” (Young Thug, J. Cole & Travis Scott)
  65. “Con Calma” (Daddy Yankee & Katy Perry feat. Snow)
  66. “Murder On My Mind” (YNW Melly)
  67. “WHEN THE PARTY’S OVER” (Billie Eilish)
  68. “Act Up” (City Girls)
  69. “I Like It” (Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin)
  70. “Trampoline” (Shaed)
  71. “Leave Me Alone(Flipp Dinero)
  72. “breathin” (Ariana Grande)
  73. “bury a friend” (Billie Eilish)
  74. “CLOSE FRIENDS” (Lil Baby)
  75. “Baby Shark” (Pinkfong)
  76. “My Type(Saaweetie)

    YK Osiris performs onstage during the pre-show at the 2019 BET Awards at Microsoft Theater June 23, 2019, in Los Angeles.

    Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET

  77. “WORTH IT” (YK Osiris)
  78. “Only Human” (Jonas Brothers)
  79. “Knockin’ Boots” (Luke Bryan)
  80. “TRIP” (Ella Mai)
  81. “RUMOR” (Lee Brice)
  82. “Swervin” (A Boogie Wit da Hoodie feat. 6ix9ine)
  83. “HOW DO YOU SLEEP?” (Sam Smith)
  84. “Baby” (Lil Baby, DaBaby & Quality Control)
  85. LOOK WHAT GOD GAVE HER” (Thomas Rhett)
  86. “Good As You” (Kane Brown)
  87. “Clout” (Offset feat. Cardi B)
  88. “LOVE LIES” (Khalid & Normani)
  89. “One Thing Right” (Marshmello & Kane Brown)
  90. “Cash S—” (Megan Thee Stallion feat. DaBaby)
  91. “TEQUILA” (Dan + Shay)
  92. “Shotta Flow” (NLE Choppa)
  93. “Hot Girl Summer” (Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign)
  94. “TALK YOU OUT OF IT” (Florida Georgia Line)
  95. “BEAUTIFUL” (Bazzi feat. Camila Cabello)
  96. “EYES ON YOU” (Chase Rice)
  97. “ALL TO MYSELF” (Dan + Shay)
  98. “BOYFRIEND” (Ariana Grande & Social House)
  99. “Walk Me Home” (P!nk)
  100. “ROBBERY” (Juice WRLD)


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.