On January 2, 1999, Billboard revamped and renamed Hot R&B Singles. Hot R&B Singles & Tracks was designed to reflect the increase of radio hits not released as retail singles. The Hot 100 had just undergone a similar makeover. In the January 9 edition of Billboard, where the changes were explained, the publication noted that half of the songs on the first Hot R&B Singles & Tracks chart weren't available commercially as singles. The first year of the new chart, however, was only marginally more dynamic than the final year of Hot R&B Singles. By this count, just fewer than 190 R&B songs hit Hot R&B Singles & Tracks in 1999 -- not even a dozen more than the number that hit Hot R&B Singles in 1998. Turnover was roughly the same. Rap still squeezed out R&B. Major labels and major-funded boutique labels still steamrolled independents. Producers jacked Timbaland. Earth rotated.

Commercial R&B in 1999 set itself apart from the decade's earlier years with several forthright women decrying lying, trifling, game-playing, broke, good-for-nothing scrubs, bug-a-boos, and busters. Throughout the year, TLC, Lauryn Hill, Destiny's Child, Kelis, and Missy Elliott were among the few to add flavor to the genre. Apart from them, charting R&B was about mid-tempo cool -- led by Donell Jones' "U Know What's Up," produced by the great Eddie F. of Heavy D & the Boyz -- and a vast supply of ballads, a high percentage of which were inert and tepid.

Sharp yet bounding verses and a seething chorus, supported by a crisp pop-funk backdrop and a hail of floating Technicolor pellets -- all in contrast to common elements like sleepy vocals, merely functional rhythms, and "tasteful" acoustic guitar -- made Kelis' "Caught Out There" the year's most distinct R&B single. Producers and songwriters Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, aka the Neptunes, had just turned a corner with Noreaga's "Superthug" and Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money," two rap hits involving Kelis. No one could've known just how inescapable the Neptunes' sound would become.

Here are 40 favorite R&B singles that reached Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart during 1999. Next month, we'll track back to 1980.

1. Kelis - "Caught Out There" [Virgin, 11/13]
2. Donell Jones - "U Know What's Up" [Untouchables, 8/28]
3. Lauryn Hill - "Ex-Factor" [Ruffhouse, 1/2]
4. TLC - "No Scrubs" [LaFace, 2/20]
5. Montell Jordan - "Get It On…Tonite" [Def Jam, 10/2]
6. Amel Larrieux - "Get Up" [550, 11/27]
7. Blaque - "808" [Track Masters, 5/8]
8. 702 - "Where My Girls At" [Motown, 4/17]
9. Destiny's Child - "Bug a Boo" [Columbia, 8/21]
10. Maxwell - "Fortunate" [Rock Land, 3/13]

11. Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott - "All N My Grill" [Gold Mind, 6/26]
12. TLC - "I'm Good at Being Bad" [LaFace, 4/24]
13. Destiny's Child - "Bills, Bills, Bills" [Columbia, 5/22]
14. Destiny's Child - "Say My Name" [Columbia, 12/4]
15. Faith Evans - "All Night Long" [Bad Boy, 1/2]
16. Mariah Carey - "Heartbreaker" [Columbia, 9/4]
17. Lauryn Hill - "Everything Is Everything" [Ruffhouse, 5/8]
18. Guy - "Dancin'" [MCA, 10/30]
19. 112 - "Anywhere" [Bad Boy, 2/13]
20. Ginuwine - "So Anxious" [550, 6/19]

21. TLC - "Unpretty" [LaFace, 8/14]
22. Raphael Saadiq - "Get Involved" [Hollywood, 2/27]*
23. D'Angelo - "Left and Right" [Virgin, 11/6]
24. Ginuwine - "What So Different?" [550, 1/30]
25. Monica - "Angel of Mine" [Arista, 1/2]
26. Eric Benét - "Georgy Porgy" [Warner, 1/30]
27. Whitney Houston - "Heartbreak Hotel" [Arista, 1/2]
28. Jagged Edge - "He Can't Love U" [So So Def, 10/9]
29. Angie Stone - "No More Rain (In This Cloud)" [Arista, 9/18]
30. Jesse Powell - "You" [Silas, 1/2]

31. Dave Hollister - "My Favorite Girl" [Def Squad, 3/20]
32. Brandy - "Have You Ever" [Atlantic, 1/2]
33. Brandy - "Angel in Disguise" [Atlantic, 1/2]
34. Brandy - "U Don't Know Me (Like U Used To)" [Atlantic, 9/25]
35. Tyrese - "Lately" [RCA, 4/24]
36. Terry Dexter - "Better Than Me" [University, 7/17]
37. Les Nubians - "Makeda" [Virgin, 3/20]
38. Mary J. Blige - "Sincerity" [MCA, 7/24]
39. D'Angelo - "Heaven Must Be Like This" [Virgin, 1/23]
40. Erykah Badu - "Southern Gul" [Motown, 7/31]

*This song is not available on Spotify in the U.S. Favorite 41 appears in its place, at the end of the playlist.