The landscape of R&B music is chock full of emotionally resonant topics, but chief among them is the subject of cheating.
Whether it’s a case of being cheated on, doing the cheating, or simply contemplating an affair, R&B singers have long been mining this rich vein of lyrical inspiration.
In honor of those artists who have so eloquently captured the pain, heartache, and betrayal that infidelity can bring, we’ve compiled a list of the 15 best R&B songs about cheating.
Top Best R&B Songs about Cheating
1. I Should Have Cheated – Keyshia Cole
17 years later, Keyshia Cole’s debut single is still one of the most relatable and gut-wrenching tracks about being cheated on.
Over a simple piano melody, Cole details the hurt and humiliation she felt when she discovered her partner’s infidelity.
The song spirals into a wave of emotion, as Keyshia sorrowfully sings about how she should have cheated if she knew she was going to be treated like this.
Key Lyrics – I might as well have cheated on you (You), As much as you accused me of cheatin’ , I might as well have lied to you, As much as you accused me of lyin’
2. U Should’ve Known Better – Monica
Monica lays forward her love for her partner in “U Should’ve Known Better.” It’s a cozy song where Monica addresses their partner’s insecurities, letting them know she’d never cheat or leave them.
She’s committed to the relationship, and though there’s no cheating involved, the topic is touched upon, though thankfully it’s addressed in a positive light.
Key Lyrics – I never ever cheated, I never ever lied, So you can stop askin’, askin’ me why, Why I never left you and why I kept it real, And why I’m still with you
3. Over And Over – Nelly
“Over and Over,” is a song all about Nelly breaking up with his girlfriend, and how he can’t forget about her.
He keeps picturing her dating other men and replaying how their dying relationships broke apart, and it causes him continuous pain and grief.
His attachment leads to him feeling like she’s cheating on him, even though the relationship is through.
Key Lyrics – ‘Cause it’s all in my head, I think about it over and over again, And I can’t keep picturin’ you with him, And it hurts so bad, yeah
4. My Little Secret – Xscape
Now for a change of pace, we have “My Little Secret,” by Xscape. In this song, a couple sing about how they’re cheating with each other on their partners, and how they revel in this love affair despite his unhealthy it is.
Even at the risk of being caught, they refuse to reveal their secret relationship.
Key Lyrics – You’re my little secret, And that’s how we should keep it, It’s on everybody’s mind, about you and I, They think so, but they don’t really know, Or wanna know that You’re my little secret
5. Shoulda Let You Go – Keyshia Cole
Another classic from Keyshia Cole, “Shoulda Let You Go,” is all about the singer’s regret from staying in a relationship with a cheater despite knowing it can’t work.
Thankfully, they do break away from their cheating partner eventually, though the wasted time is still lost forever.
Key Lyrics – And we both knew, you’re wrong, There’s nothing you can do, to ever undo what you’ve done to me, I loved you, deep in my heart, I know you couldn’t love me, But baby, I just kept holding on, I shoulda let you go
6. Secret Lovers – Atlantic Starr
“Secret Lovers,” is a surprisingly pleasant sounding tune. It tells the story of two lovers, both with happy families but disillusioned with their love lives.
When they meet each other, they feel loved, but know that any wrong move could ruin both their families forever. A fascinating song, juxtaposing its guilt with peaceful, buoyant music.
Key Lyrics – Here we are, The two of us together, Taking this crazy chance, To be all alone, We both know that, We should not be together, Cause if we’re found out, It could mess up both our happy homes
7. Me & Mrs. Jones – Billy Paul
Billy Paul’s dulcet tones greet the listener in this salacious song about Billy Paul’s relationship with one Mrs. Jones.
It’s made abundantly clear that Billy Paul is not the Mr. Jones in this case, and though the moments they share together are tender and loving, they still acknowledge that it’s wrong.
Despite that, they refuse to let go, resulting in a bittersweet tune.
Key Lyrics – Me and Mrs Jones, We got a thing going on, We both know that it’s wrong, But it’s much too strong, To let it go now
8. If Your Girl Only Knew – Aaliyah
The list takes a turn with this song, all about Aaliyah laying a verbal beatdown on a hapless person attempting to cheat on his girlfriend with Aaliyah.
The singer doesn’t hold back, telling him she’s not that easy, and that he doesn’t deserve his girlfriend. Definitely a powerful song, one that takes the moral high ground in regards to cheating.
Key Lyrics – If your girl only knew, That you were tryin’ to get with me (What would she do?), If your girl only knew, That you was dissin’ her to talk to me, she
9. Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do) – Mya
When it comes to “Case Of The Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do),” the focus is shifted from cheating to the prospect of cheating.
When her boyfriend’s ex gives him a call out of the blue, Mya demands to know what he plans to do, telling him he’d better not cheat on her over old feelings.
Key Lyrics – It’s after midnight and she’s on your phone (Phone), Saying, “Come over,” ’cause she’s all alone (‘Lone), I could tell it was your ex by your tone (Tone), Why is she callin’ now after so long?
10. Don’t Think I’m Not – Kandi Burruss
“Don’t Think I’m Not,” takes a different approach, being more of a revenge song.
Kandi breaks down her cheating lover, making it clear that even though she knows he’s cheating on her and lying, she doesn’t mind because she’s chosen to cheat on him as well.
It’s a catchy song, belying the more controversial subject matter.
Key Lyrics – When you’re out in the club, don’t think I’m not, Even when you’re out making love, don’t think I’m not, When you’re feeling good, In somebody’s spot, getting hot, don’t stop, Just don’t think I’m not, ’cause I’m out getting mine
11. Unfaithful – Rihanna
An incredibly popular song, and one of Rihanna’s best, “Unfaithful,” is a heartbreaking song depicting how Rihanna feels immense guilt over how she continues to cheat on her lover.
She lies to him, and despite how much pain she causes him, she can’t stop herself. An incredibly complex song, one that highlights the tragedy of cheating.
Key Lyrics – And I know that he knows I’m unfaithful, And it kills him inside, To know that I am happy with some other guy, I can see him dying
12. Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J. Blige
Another on the sadder side, “Not Gon’ Cry,” chronicles Mary J. Blige’s struggle with being cheated on and left behind by her former partner.
Leaving her to fend for herself and her child, she maligns all the wasted time she spent with him but keeps herself from crying to push forward.
Key Lyrics – Eleven years out of my life, Besides the kids, I have nothing to show, Wasted my years, a fool of a wife, I should have left your ass a long time ago
13. If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night) – Meshell Ndegéocello
With this one, the cheating comes across as a lot more unapologetic as Meshell Ndegéocello deals with the girlfriend of her last lover.
Joviality goes out of the window, as Meshell delivers a verbal dressing down, claiming she’s a better lover than her as their personalities clash. It’s an entertaining take on the topic for sure.
Key Lyrics – Boyfriend boyfriend yes I had your boyfriend, If that’s your boyfriend if that’s your boyfriend, If that’s your boyfriend, He wasn’t last night
14. Confessions, Pt. II – Usher
Perhaps one of the most iconic songs about cheating, and one of Usher’s best displays of songwriting in general.
“Confessions, Pt. II,” handles the topic of cheating and guilt with finesse and surprising amounts of responsibility.
It dips just enough into melodrama to be able to resonate with anyone, while still being tactful and thoughtful.
Key Lyrics – These are my confessions, Just when I thought I said all I could say, My chick on the side said she got one on the way, These are my confessions, Man, I’m throwed and I don’t know what to do, I guess I gotta give you part two of my confessions
15. I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
“I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” is a legendary song, and its surviving legacy is a testament to its quality.
Our singer, in this case, Marvin Gaye, wails his heart out as he finds out his lover is cheating on him.
The worst part? He only finds out through other people, hence the song’s title. A classic in all senses of the word.
Key Lyrics – I bet you’re wondering how I knew, ‘Bout your plans to make me blue, With some other guy you knew before, Between the two of us guys, You know I love you more, It took me by surprise, I must, say, When I found out yesterday, Don’t you know that
2000s R&B Songs about Cheating
No other decade has produced as many great R&B songs as the 2000s. This was the era that saw the rise of artists like Beyoncé, Usher, and Alicia Keys, all of whom have songs on this list.
And when it comes to cheating songs, the 2000s were definitely in a league of their own. From Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” to Usher’s “Confessions, Part II,” the decade was full of incredible tracks about unfaithfulness.
And while these songs might not make cheating any easier to stomach, they’re definitely some of the best songs about the subject.
- You Know I’m No Good – Amy Winehouse
- Same Girl – R. Kelly & Usher
- Boyfriend #2 – Pleasure P
- Sideline Ho – Monica
- Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
90s R&B Songs about Cheating
Trust in the 90s was pretty low. Pop culture was filled with stories and films about people being cheated on or cheating themselves.
So it’s no surprise that some of the best R&B songs about cheating come from this decade. Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” and Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” are both classics in the genre, and for good reason.
They perfectly capture the pain and betrayal that comes with being cheated on, and they’re both still hugely popular songs today.
- In My Bed – Dru Hill
- Say My Name – Destiny’s Child
- The Boy Is Mine – Brandy and Monica
- You Make Me Wanna… – Usher
- All Cried Out – Allure
Male R&B Songs about Cheating
course, cheating isn’t just a woman’s issue. Men cheat and get cheated on just as often as women, and there are plenty of great R&B songs about the subject from a male perspective.
Songs like R. Kelly’s “Down Low (Nobody Has to Know)” and Brian McKnight’s “Anytime, Anyplace” capture the sneaking around and secrecy that often comes with an affair.
And songs like Usher’s “Confessions, Part II” and Avant’s “Read Your Mind” deal with the guilt and heartache that comes after being caught cheating.
Though they’re all about a very painful subject, these songs are some of the best R&B has to offer.
- Wicked Games – The Weeknd
- Love the Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna) – Eminem
- (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right – Luther Ingram
- Marvin’s Room – Drake
- It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy
And with that, we’ve gotten to the end of our list. We hope you found some excellent R&B fare from this list, perhaps even some new favorites. There’s some real talent on this list, and we’re happy to put a spotlight on these great examples of songwriting brilliance