There was no major-league comeback to rival Mary J. Blige's 2006 breakthrough or Mariah Carey's 2005 emancipation. And hip-hop sales overall weren't anything to write home about.

But R&B/hip-hop in 2007 still managed to chime in with several headline-making notes. The list of artists leaving those noteworthy year-end impressions ranges from A to Z: Akon, Beyoncé, Pretty Ricky, Robin Thicke and Jay-Z.

Building on the momentum sparked by the fourth-quarter 2006 release of his sophomore album, "Konvicted" (Konvict/Upfront/SRC/Universal Motown/UMRG), music man of the hour Akon parlays his lead atop the Hot Rhythmic Artists charts into four additional chart-topping slots: Top Artists and Top Artists-Male (which combines The Billboard 200 and The Billboard Hot 100), Top Billboard 200 Artists-Male, Hot 100 Artists and Hot 100 Artists-Male.

Beyoncé continues to be the female artist to beat in R&B and pop. Kick-him-to-the-curb anthem "Irreplaceable" netted the former Destiny's Child frontwoman honors atop the Hot 100 Songs and the Hot 100 Airplay recaps as well as the queen bee post on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists-Female and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Artists.

Here's something else of note Akon and Justin Timberlake were the only top R&B/hip-hop acts to finish in the top 10 of the Top Billboard 200 Albums recap for 2007. Beyoncé is at No. 11 while Kanye West comes in at No. 12. The only other R&B/hip-hop entry in the Top Billboard 200 Albums top 20 is Jay-Z with "Kingdom Come" (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam/IDJMG) at No. 20.

It's a different story on the recap of the Hot 100 Songs...

For the full 2007 wrap-up, see the year-end issue of Billboard Magazine, on newsstands Dec. 14.