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10 Best R&B Songs of 2006

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As this is being written, 2006 is almost over, so this is a good time to take a look back and examine the best R&B and Soul songs of the year. Here's our list for the top 10 R&B, Funk and Soul songs that were released as album singles in 2006. One note, though: any song featuring a rapper was automatically disqualified from consideration, because such songs are automatically considered hip-hop, not R&B.

1. "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige

Although technically this single and the album it's from were released in late 2005, it was 2006 when "Be Without You" became the most successful release in the history of Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart when it spent a record 15 straight weeks at No. 1.

2. "I Am Not My Hair," by India.Arie, feat. Akon

The original version of this song was released in December 2005, but the remix featuring Akon wasn't released until 2006, making it eligible for this list. Good thing too; it would be a shame to leave out one of the most uplifting singles of the year. (And no, Akon doesn't count as a rapper - at least not right now.)

3. "Used to Be My Girl," Brian McKnight

"Go 'head playboy - do your thing. But don't be mad when she calls my name." Oh snap. You can stream the song by clicking the title.

4. "Rehab," Amy Winehouse

Amy who? Amy what? Stay tuned. You'll be hearing a lot about British Soul singer Amy Winehouse on this site in 2007, once her second album's been released in the U.S. In the meantime, you can stream the song's audio by clicking on the link above.

5. "Turn It Up," Johnta Austin

This song is basically a love letter to R&B music, with Johnta giving shout-outs to various artists, including Maxwell, Jodeci and R. Kelly. You can watch the song's video by clicking the link in the song title.

6. "Blood, Sweat & Tears," Governor

A man's struggles and life story laid out before your very eyes and ears. See for yourself by clicking the link to stream the song's video.

7. "S.E.X.," Lyfe Jennings

A much-needed morality tale in a music world filled with rampant debauchery. Check out the About R&B/Soul review via the link below.

8. "Black Sweat," by Prince

It may be reminiscent of some of Prince's late 1980s/early 1990s work, but despite that - or because of it - "Black Sweat" is one of the funkiest, sexiest songs of the year.

9. "Irreplaceable," by Beyonce

This song has modern-day classic written all over it. All the Beyonce haters out there should move "to the left, to the left."

10. "So Sick," by Ne-Yo

What else can be said about this runaway hit? With this song, Ne-Yo solidified himself as one of contemporary music's most innovative songwriters.
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