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Top 16 musicians of the 21st century



16. ‘N Sync- One of the hottest boy bands of the late 90’s and early 2000’s with their so-called “landmark achievment” album “No Strings Attached”, which sold 2.42 million copies in one week.  Members included Chris Kirckpatrick, JC Chasez, Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, and Joey Fatone.  Officially broken up in 2007, each member has gone on to individual success in their own ways.

15. Kanye West- With albums like “The College Dropout” and “Graduation”, West has had immense success with five of his most famous songs that exceeded 3 million digital sales (“Gold digger”, “Stronger”, “Heartless”, “E.T.”, and “Love Lockdown”).  Although controvesy surrounded his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift at the MTV Music Awards in 2010, he bounced back with collaborations with Jay-Z on “Watch the Throne.”

14. Beyonce- Making her first debut in the music world in the 90’s, she was a part of one of the world’s best selling girl groups of all time, Destiny’s Child.  Also known as Sasha Fierce, she continued as a solo artist, winning five Grammys with her first solo album “Dangerously in Love.”  Her second album “B’day” helped her break a record for most Grammys won by a female artist in one night, six to be exact.  Now married to Jay-Z, she has just given birth to their first child, Blue Ivy.

13. Lil Wayne- Being the youngest to join Cash Money Records at age nine, Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. had his fair share of groups before flying solo.  Although his first albums were not as successful, “Tha Carter” and its sequels constituted more success.  “Tha Carter III”, which was 2008’s best selling record, included his number one single with Static Major “Lollipop” and others such as “A Milli” and “Got Money.”  Wayne claims he will retire at age 35 because it is a vital time in his four kids’ (with all different moms) lives.

12. Maroon 5- Originally named “Kara’s Flowers”, the band went on to be famously known as Maroon 5 as of 2002 and achieved immense success since.  Their first album  “Songs about Jane” included “She Will Be Loved” and went on to achieve gold, platinum, and triple platinum in many countries.  After their “It Won’t Be Soon before Long” album, the group collaborated with Christina Aguilera on one of the best selling singles of all time, “Moves Like Jagger”.

11. Usher- Usher Terry Raymond IV skyrocketed to fame after his second album “My Way”, which produced his Billboard number one hit “Nice & Slow.”  His 2004 album “Confessions” sold over 10 million copies in the first week, and became known as the highest first week sales for an R & B artist in one week.  Usher has won seven Grammys to date, and was named the best selling Hot 100 music artists of the decade in 2009.

10. Justin Bieber-Fitting that he comes after Usher, this Canadian sensation was founded by Usher from Bieber’s popular Youtube videos.  Skyrocketing to success, Bieber has had hits like “One Time”, “Baby”, and “Never Say Never.”  Since going out with Selena Gomez, the relationship has boosted their success and also called for some death threats by the Beliebers.

9.  Rihanna- A Barbadian recording artist, Rihanna began her stardom with the single “SOS”.  After an image change, Rihanna then released songs like “Umbrella” and “Take a bow.”  Having won six Grammys, eight Billboard Music Awards, and five American Music Awards, the star also experienced trouble with her superstar boyfriend Chris Brown.  Rumors surfaced that the two have reunited after working on songs “Birthday Cake Remix” and “Don’t Stop the Music” recently.

8.  Bruno Mars- Born Peter Gene Hernandez, the singer began his music career co-writing songs like “Nothin’ on you” by B.o.B, “Right Round” by Flo-Rida, and “Billionaire” by Travis McCoy.  In October 2010, the Hawaiian singer released his debut album “Doo-Wops & Houligans”, which peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 with hit songs like “Just the Way You Are”, which he earned best male pop vocal performance for.

7. Nicki Minaj- Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, released her first album “Pink Friday” in November 2010.  It peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 and she became the first female solo artist to have seven singles on the Hot 10o simultaneously.  Born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, the star moved to Queens when she was 5.  Collaborating with Drake, Lil Wayne, and, she was also the first female artist to be featured on MTV’s Annual Hottest MC List

6. Chris Brown- The spark of his success began with the “Run It!” single when he was 16, a part of his debut album titled “Chris Brown”, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  With songs like “With you”, “Kiss Kiss”, and “Forever”, the singer’s immense charisma and dancing energy place him in a category of his own.  Having won his first grammy for  Best R&B album for his most recent album “F.A.M.E”, the singer has rehabilitated from assault charges regarding his then-girlfriend Rihanna.

5. Lady Gaga- With a name like Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, it’s no wonder the pop star is so diverse.  Her debut album “The Fame” included songs like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face”, which became international number one singles.  After her second album, including songs like “Alejandro”, “Telephone”, and “Bad Romance”, her tour (The Monster Ball Tour) became one of the highest grossing concert tours of all time. The singer, who was raised in NYC, has an extravagant choice of outfits, hair, and makeup that set her apart from the rest in the music world.

4.  Eminem- The infamous nickname “Eminem” stems from his initials MM, Marshall Mathers. The worldwide rapper has had success and recognition from old-school songs like “Mockingbird”, “The Real Slim Shady” and “When I’m Gone”, and has remained significant by collaborating with Rihanna on “Love the Way You Lie”, 50 cent, Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, and B.o.B.  Probably one of the best rappers of all time, he even starred in a movie loosely based on his rough childhood titled “8 Mile.”  Eminem’s talent stems from his ability to freestyle and rap almost instantaneously due to his habit of reading the dictionary when he was younger.

3. Drake- His real name happens to be Aubrey Drake Graham; however, there is nothing feminine about this hip-hop heartthrob.  Drake began his career on the hit teen show “Degrassi: The Next Generation” as “wheelchair Jimmy.”  Once in the rap game on Lil Wayne’s label, he released his debut album “Thank Me Later” and it skyrocketed to number one on Billboard 200.  In addition to producing his own albums, he has written for other artists like Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, and more.  He also collaborated with big names like Rihanna, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, etc.

2. Adele- The Brit artist, first exposed to the music world by her friend on Myspace, earned a recording contract in 2006.  After her first two albums, “19” and “21”, the star achieved much success and even tied the record for most Grammys won by a female artist in one night with Beyonce.  She is also the first female artist to have three singles in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 at the same time.  Her album “21” is the longest running number one album by a female on the Billboard.  Only fitting, Billboard named Adele artist of the year in 2011.

1. Britney Spears- The youngest star to ever get a Hollywood star, Spears began her stardom with her debut album “…Baby one more time” in 1999.  Credited with the revival of teen pop in the late 90’s, her first and second album title tracks, “…Baby one more time”and  “Oops!…I Did it Again”, became international number one hits.  After her third album “Britney” was released, the star expanded her career as the lead actress in the film “Crossroads.”  Although the artist has had her ups and downs in her personal life, it has not stopped her from releasing new albums.  Songs like “Toxic”, “Me Against the World”, and “Everytime” were featured on her “In the Zone” album before her hiatus.  Her comeback included her “Blackout” and “Circus” albums with chart-topping singles including “Piece of me” and “Womanizer.”  As of 2011, she has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.  Having won only one of her various Grammy nominations, other awards (like her 16 Teen Choice Awards) do her more justice.

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