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The Year in R&B/Hip-Hop: Beyoncé, Pharrell and Iggy Azalea Lead Honors

While familiar names in R&B and hip-hop music flooded the airwaves and music charts, 2014 welcomed a wealth of new players who fought to leave their mark.

While familiar names in R&B and hip-hop music flooded the airwaves and music charts, 2014 welcomed a wealth of new players who fought to leave their mark.

See All the Year End Charts Here!

New acts like Jhene Aiko, Bobby Shmurda and YG scored big hits, while the year’s Top New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist, Iggy Azalea, broke a record for most weeks at No. 1 on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. A release that we didn’t see coming (hi, Beyoncé!) became the year’s No. 1 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album, while R&B chart veteran John Legend had his biggest hit ever with “All Of Me.” Eye-popping viral videos propelled songs like Nicki Minaj‘s “Anaconda” up the lists and everybody got “Happy” thanks to Pharrell Williams


2014: The Year In Music

The 2014 chart year started with a bang thanks to Beyoncé’s surprise self-titled album, which was released on Dec. 15, 2013. The diva closes out the year as the No. 1 R&B/Hip-Hop Artist, while the album crowns the year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally. Five of Beyoncé’s songs rank among the 2014 year-end Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs tally, with her biggest song coming in at No. 7: “Drunk In Love,” featuring Jay Z. Beyoncé also caps the R&B Streaming Artists list, with “Drunk” earning the No. 5 slot on the R&B Streaming Songs tally.

Iggy’s Breakthrough: The year’s top new R&B/Hip-Hop artist, Iggy Azalea, scored a host of accomplishments in her breakout year. (She also finishes 2014 as the No. 4 act on the year-end Top R&B/Hip-Hop Artists recap.) Her mega-hit “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, became the longest running No. 1 by a female rapper on the weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, topping the list for a whopping 13 weeks. It closes out the year at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Songs and Rap Streaming Songs recaps. Azalea’s album The New Classic also comes in at No. 3 on the year-end Rap Albums tally, only bested by Eminem‘s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and Drake‘s Nothing Was the Same.

Eminem also tops the Rap Digital Songs Artists list with six of the year’s biggest digital tracks, led by “Monster,” featuring Rihanna, at No. 3. 

Drake had a similarly fruitful year on the airwaves, taking the No. 1 spot on Rap Airplay Artists. The versatile emcee posted 10 songs on the weekly Rap Airplay chart in 2014, including “0-100/The Catch Up” which spent five weeks atop the list in October. The track ends up at No. 11 on the Rap Airplay Songs chart for the year, where Drake holds a total of six spots on the year-end tally. 

The 10 Most Surprising Breakout Hits of 2014

Nicki’s ‘Anaconda’ Strikes: Nicki Minaj continued her reign on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs in 2014, furthering her lead for most charted titles by a female rapper (57 and counting). Five of her tracks made the annual round up of the year’s top Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs, led by “Anaconda,” which rests at No. 9. The song’s achievements were greatly aided by a visually captivating music video, which has amassed 324 million worldwide YouTube views since its release, and finishes the year at No. 3 on the list of Rap Streaming Songs.  

Legend and Pharrell Score Their Biggest Hits Ever: John Legend ruled the R&B Songs chart in 2014 with his surprise smash “All Of Me.” The ballad spent 12 weeks atop Hot R&B Songs, and three weeks at No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The success of the single was a long time coming for the singer/songwriter, who made his Billboard chart debut way back on April 3, 2004 (when his featured turn on Slum Village’s “Selfish” bowed on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart).

Year in Review: Billboard Photography of 2014

“All Of Me” finishes 2014 as the No. 2 song on three key year-end charts: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot R&B Songs and Adult R&B Songs (behind only Pharrell Williams’ inescapable “Happy” on all three lists).  

Legend does triumph as the top Adult R&B Artist, thanks in part to “All Of Me’s” rule atop the weekly Adult R&B Songs chart for eight uninterrupted weeks (his longest-running No. 1 ever).

Pharrell’s wildly popular “Happy” controlled the airwaves and the charts in 2014. It was the singer/rapper/songwriter/producer’s biggest hit as a lead artist, spending 12 weeks at No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. He had visited the top four times earlier, though only once as a lead (with 2003’s “Frontin'”).

‘Tell ‘Em,’ It’s a Hit! Singer Jeremih tied with Legend’s “All of Me” for most crowning weeks on the weekly Hot R&B Songs chart with his infectious single “Don’t Tell ‘Em” Featuring YG. Both cuts spent 12 weeks at No. 1. The song also became a hit at radio, and tops the year-end Rhythmic Songs chart. It’s the only song to have reached the top 10 on the Hot 100 this year (No. 6) without an official music video, an uncommon feat. It finishes just outside the top 10 on the year-end Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, placing at No. 11.