2009: The Year In Music

Comebacks seem to be all the rage this year in music. From Maxwell to Whitney Houston, R&B's biggest stories all seem to involve the triumphant return of seasoned veterans. But there were also a fair share of new acts making noise on the charts--not to mention some perennial favorites like Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z. Here we take a look back at the year in music. From the highlights to the lowlights, we remember it all--including the death of a King.

Year in Music

Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift

Kanye West was having a great year. He'd released his most avant-garde album to date, 808s and Heartbreaks, and seemed to have finally calmed down after the passing of his mother. And then in September, he interrupted country singer Taylor Swift's Best Female Video acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs with his now infamous "I'mma let you finish" speech in which he told the audience that Beyonce deserved the award.

Beyonce

Beyonce's I Am... Sasha Fierce earns 10 Grammy nominations. In a year in which Bey was constantly in competition with Taylor Swift, she became the big winner when she scored more Grammy nods than the country singer in December.

Maxwell

The return of Maxwell. After eight years away from music, the R&B crooner returned with BLACKsummers'night, the first album in a trilogy. The album featured a host of smooth singles that earned Maxwell six Grammy nominations.

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys pen new New York anthem. The duo debuted "Empire State of Mind" at the MTV VMAs in September and later performed the song at Yankee Stadium during the World Series.

Diddy

Diddy and other artists embrace Twitter. The social networking tool becomes all the rage this year with artists using their tweets to address rumors, release new music and start new beefs.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's death. The world is stunned as word spreads that the King of Pop died suddenly of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles while preparing for his "This Is It" comeback tour. Artists and fans around the globe pay homage to Jackson via tribute songs, concerts and memorials.

Sade

The return of Sade. Not to be outdone by Maxwell, the equally enigmatic R&B songstress returned this month with a new single, "Soldier of Love." Her new album, is slated to drop Feb. 8, 2010.

Jennifer Hudson's Comeback

Jennifer Hudson sings the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIII. After a tumultuous 2008, the Oscar winning singer returned to the spotlight with her moving rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" in early February.

Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston makes comeback complete. R&B fans of the diva finally had their wishes granted when she released her album, I Look To You, in August. The album, which featured "Million Dollar Bill" and "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," was her first in six years.

Rihanna

Rihanna vs. Chris Brown. They were one of the hottest couple's in pop culture, but when Brown assaulted Rihanna the night of the Grammys it all came to an end. Brown faced charges and Rihanna threw herself into her music, but rumors of the two reuniting remained throughout the year. Now, the two have both released new albums and have publicly addressed the incident. It looks like they have finally both moved on.

Chris Brown

Rihanna vs. Chris Brown. They were one of the hottest couple's in pop culture, but when Brown assaulted Rihanna the night of the Grammys it all came to an end. Brown faced charges and Rihanna threw herself into her music, but rumors of the two reuniting remained throughout the year. Now, the two have both released new albums and have publicly addressed the incident. It looks like they have finally both moved on.

The ESSENCE Music Festival

The ESSENCE Music Festival rocks New Orleans with performances from Beyonce, Maxwell and John Legend, among others. The annual party drew 428,000 people and featured a who's who of African-American music stars and leaders.

Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne wins four Grammys for The Carter III. The awards solidified the New Orleans MC's spot as one of the best in the rap game now.

Kanye West was having a great year. He'd released his most avant-garde album to date, 808s and Heartbreaks, and seemed to have finally calmed down after the passing of his mother. And then in September, he interrupted country singer Taylor Swift's Best Female Video acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs with his now infamous "I'mma let you finish" speech in which he told the audience that Beyonce deserved the award.

Beyonce's I Am... Sasha Fierce earns 10 Grammy nominations. In a year in which Bey was constantly in competition with Taylor Swift, she became the big winner when she scored more Grammy nods than the country singer in December.

The return of Maxwell. After eight years away from music, the R&B crooner returned with BLACKsummers'night, the first album in a trilogy. The album featured a host of smooth singles that earned Maxwell six Grammy nominations.

Jay-Z and Alicia Keys pen new New York anthem. The duo debuted "Empire State of Mind" at the MTV VMAs in September and later performed the song at Yankee Stadium during the World Series.

Diddy and other artists embrace Twitter. The social networking tool becomes all the rage this year with artists using their tweets to address rumors, release new music and start new beefs.

Michael Jackson's death. The world is stunned as word spreads that the King of Pop died suddenly of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles while preparing for his "This Is It" comeback tour. Artists and fans around the globe pay homage to Jackson via tribute songs, concerts and memorials.

The return of Sade. Not to be outdone by Maxwell, the equally enigmatic R&B songstress returned this month with a new single, "Soldier of Love." Her new album, is slated to drop Feb. 8, 2010.

Jennifer Hudson sings the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLIII. After a tumultuous 2008, the Oscar winning singer returned to the spotlight with her moving rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" in early February.

Whitney Houston makes comeback complete. R&B fans of the diva finally had their wishes granted when she released her album, I Look To You, in August. The album, which featured "Million Dollar Bill" and "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," was her first in six years.

Rihanna vs. Chris Brown. They were one of the hottest couple's in pop culture, but when Brown assaulted Rihanna the night of the Grammys it all came to an end. Brown faced charges and Rihanna threw herself into her music, but rumors of the two reuniting remained throughout the year. Now, the two have both released new albums and have publicly addressed the incident. It looks like they have finally both moved on.

Rihanna vs. Chris Brown. They were one of the hottest couple's in pop culture, but when Brown assaulted Rihanna the night of the Grammys it all came to an end. Brown faced charges and Rihanna threw herself into her music, but rumors of the two reuniting remained throughout the year. Now, the two have both released new albums and have publicly addressed the incident. It looks like they have finally both moved on.

The ESSENCE Music Festival rocks New Orleans with performances from Beyonce, Maxwell and John Legend, among others. The annual party drew 428,000 people and featured a who's who of African-American music stars and leaders.

Lil Wayne wins four Grammys for The Carter III. The awards solidified the New Orleans MC's spot as one of the best in the rap game now.

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