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TBC Selects

Staff Mix No. 6: The Best Rap and R&B Duets of the Aughts

July 20, 2023

Some of the most unabashedly romantic songs of the decade.

“They just don’t make them like they used to” is the type of cliché to earn audible eyerolls, but when it comes to rap and R&B duets, the sentiment is not just trite nostalgia. In the first decade of the millennium, artists like Ja Rule, Fabolous, Jay-Z, and others turned collaborations with R&B stars into Billboard Hot 100 mainstays. These songs were different in their tonal makeup from later pairings of this kind, with a level of unabashed romance that feels like the opposite of the more nihilistic, post-Weeknd sounds that have helped define the most popular hip-hop and R&B songs of the 2010s and 2020s. The tracks here are love songs unafraid of tenderness, celebrations of being engrossed in affection.

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