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Top 20 Music Artists From The 2000s

The 2000s were an eclectic and transformative decade, shaped by the dawn of the digital age and a globalized pop culture. In this vibrant era, music became a multifaceted and borderless phenomenon, mirroring the decade's spirit of technological innovation and cultural fusion.
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This period saw the rise of digital platforms, which changed how we access and interact with music. Artists from diverse genres pushed creative boundaries, crafting sounds that defined a new generation. So, let’s jump in!

#20 The White Stripes

The White Stripes, fronted by Jack and Meg White, burst onto the scene in the late ’90s, but it was in the 2000s that they truly made their mark. Their minimalist approach – just guitar, drums, and vocals – was fresh air in an era increasingly dominated by highly produced music. Their ability to blend raw, garage rock energy with catchy melodies and compelling storytelling made The White Stripes so famous. Their 2003 album, “Elephant,” featuring the iconic track “Seven Nation Army,” became an anthem of the decade, showcasing their knack for creating powerful, enduring songs with a stripped-down setup.

Popular songs include:

  • “Seven Nation Army”
  • “Fell in Love with a Girl”
  • “Icky Thump”
  • “My Doorbell”
  • “Blue Orchid”

#19 Maroon 5

Maroon 5 found its footing in the 2000s with a mix of pop rock and a soulful edge thanks to frontman Adam Levine’s distinctive voice and the band’s catchy, polished production. Their debut album, “Songs About Jane,” released in 2002, was a commercial success, driven by hits like “This Love” and “She Will Be Loved.” Their ability to craft relatable lyrics and memorable hooks, combined with their tight musicianship, allowed them to stand out and capture a broad audience, securing their place as one of the decade’s defining acts.

Popular songs include:

  • “This Love”
  • “She Will Be Loved”
  • “Makes Me Wonder”
  • “Sunday Morning”
  • “Wake Up Call”

#18 Nelly

With his unique blend of rap, R&B, and pop, Nelly dominated the early 2000s music scene. His debut album, “Country Grammar,” and its title track catapulted him to fame, introducing a distinctive fusion of genres that resonated widely. Hits like “Hot in Herre” and “Dilemma” showcased his versatility and ability to create catchy, chart-topping tracks. Nelly’s charm, crossover appeal, and melodic, sing-along hooks made him a staple in the 2000s music landscape.

Popular songs include:

  • “Hot in Herre”
  • “Dilemma” (feat. Kelly Rowland)
  • “Country Grammar (Hot Shit)”
  • “Ride wit Me” (feat. City Spud)
  • “Grillz” (feat. Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp)

#17 Green Day

Green Day, already established in the ’90s music scene, reached monumental success in the 2000s with their album “American Idiot.” This concept album, released in 2004, captured the political and social unrest of the era, resonating with audiences worldwide. Its rock opera style, anthemic tracks, and compelling narrative propelled Green Day to new heights, revitalizing punk rock for a new generation. Their ability to address contemporary issues with raw energy and catchy, accessible punk music solidified their status as icons of the decade.

Popular songs include:

  • “American Idiot”
  • “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”
  • “Wake Me Up When September Ends”
  • “Holiday”
  • “Jesus of Suburbia”

#16 Coldplay

Coldplay’s rise in the 2000s was marked by their anthemic, dynamic rock sound, characterized by Chris Martin’s haunting vocals and the band’s lush, atmospheric instrumentation. Albums like “Parachutes,” “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” and “X&Y” featured introspective lyrics and sweeping melodies that struck a chord with listeners worldwide. Hits such as “Yellow,” “The Scientist,” and “Fix You” became synonymous with the era, offering a soundtrack to the highs and lows of the decade. Coldplay’s ability to blend melancholy with hope and their memorable live performances cemented their status as one of the era’s most beloved bands.

Popular songs include:

  • “Yellow”
  • “Fix You”
  • “Viva la Vida”
  • “The Scientist”
  • “Clocks”

#15 Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys emerged in the early 2000s as a powerhouse of soul and R&B with her debut album, “Songs in A Minor.” Her classically trained piano skills, soulful voice, and heartfelt lyrics brought a new level of artistry to the R&B genre. Hits like “Fallin'” and “If I Ain’t Got You” showcased her musical prowess and emotional depth, resonating with audiences worldwide. Keys’ ability to blend classical and contemporary influences made her a standout artist of the decade, earning her critical acclaim and a devoted fan base.

Popular songs include:

  • “Fallin'”
  • “If I Ain’t Got You”
  • “No One”
  • “You Don’t Know My Name”
  • “Diary” (feat. Tony! Toni! Toné!)

#14 U2

Already iconic by the time the 2000s rolled around, U2 continued to solidify its status as a rock legend throughout the decade. Their 2000 album, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” marked a return to their classic sound, with anthems like “Beautiful Day” and “Vertigo” becoming global hits. U2’s commitment to social and political causes their unforgettable melodies, and Bono’s distinctive vocals kept them relevant and influential. Their ability to consistently produce impactful music and stage electrifying live shows maintained their prominence in the music world during the 2000s.

Popular songs include:

  • “Beautiful Day”
  • “Vertigo”
  • “Elevation”
  • “City of Blinding Lights”
  • “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own”

#13 Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake transitioned from boy band fame with *NSYNC to a solo superstar in the 2000s. His debut solo album, “Justified,” and its follow-up, “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” showcased his evolution into a mature artist with a knack for innovative pop and R&B. Timberlake’s smooth vocals, catchy hooks, and collaborations with producers like Timbaland helped redefine pop music in the decade. Hits like “Cry Me a River” and “SexyBack” were commercial successes and cemented his status as a leading figure in the pop music scene.

Popular songs include:

  • “Cry Me a River”
  • “SexyBack”
  • “Rock Your Body”
  • “What Goes Around… Comes Around”
  • “My Love” (feat. T.I.)

#12 Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga burst onto the music scene in the late 2000s with her debut album, “The Fame,” instantly becoming a pop culture phenomenon. Known for her outlandish fashion, powerful vocals, and dynamic performances, Gaga brought theatricality and artistry to pop music. Tracks like “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” dominated the charts, while “Bad Romance” showcased her songwriting talent and knack for creating catchy, danceable hits. Her fearless individuality and musical versatility made her one of the most influential artists of the decade, reshaping pop music’s landscape.

Popular songs include:

  • “Just Dance” (feat. Colby O’Donis)
  • “Poker Face”
  • “Bad Romance”
  • “Paparazzi”
  • “LoveGame”

#11 The Black Eyed Peas

The Black Eyed Peas transformed from an underground hip-hop group into a global pop superstar in the 2000s. Their albums “Elephunk” and “Monkey Business” produced a series of chart-topping hits, including “Where Is The Love?,” “Let’s Get It Started,” and “My Humps.” The addition of Fergie to the group brought a new dimension to their sound, blending hip-hop with pop, dance, and R&B. Their catchy hooks, socially conscious lyrics, and infectious beats made them one of the decade’s most popular and versatile groups, capable of creating songs that became anthems for a generation.

Popular songs include:

  • “Where Is The Love?”
  • “Let’s Get It Started”
  • “Boom Boom Pow”
  • “I Gotta Feeling”
  • “My Humps”

#10 Madonna

Madonna, the Queen of Pop, continued her reign into the 2000s with a series of innovative albums that pushed the boundaries of pop music. Featuring in our top music artists from the 80s and 90s, her ability to constantly reinvent herself musically and visually kept her at the forefront of the genre. Albums like “Music” and “Confessions on a Dance Floor” showcased her adaptability, blending electronic music with pop and dance and producing hits such as “Music,” “Hung Up,” and “4 Minutes.” Madonna’s knack for trendsetting and her savvy use of MTV and music videos solidified her status as a pop icon and a master of reinvention throughout the decade.

Popular songs include:

  • “Music”
  • “Hung Up”
  • “Don’t Tell Me”
  • “4 Minutes” (feat. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland)
  • “Sorry”

#9 Britney Spears

Britney Spears became the defining pop star of the early 2000s, captivating audiences with her catchy tunes, charismatic performances, and highly publicized personal life. Spears’ debut album “…Baby One More Time” launched her to stardom, but it was her subsequent albums, including “Oops!… I Did It Again” and “In the Zone,” that solidified her place in pop music history. Hits like “Toxic” and “Gimme More” exemplified her ability to evolve with the changing pop landscape. Her performances and music videos set new standards for pop spectacle, making her a permanent fixture in 2000s pop culture.

Popular songs include:

  • “Oops!… I Did It Again”
  • “Toxic”
  • “Gimme More”
  • “Womanizer”
  • “Everytime”

#8 Jay-Z

Jay-Z emerged as one of the most influential figures in hip-hop during the 2000s, not only for his musical output but also for his entrepreneurial endeavors. Albums like “The Blueprint” and “The Black Album” were critical and commercial successes, showcasing his lyrical prowess, storytelling ability, and innovative production choices. Jay-Z’s knack for crafting hits across a spectrum of sounds, from soulful samples to mainstream pop crossovers, helped him maintain his relevance and expand his empire, influencing a generation of artists and reshaping the music industry.

Popular songs include:

  • “99 Problems”
  • “Empire State of Mind” (feat. Alicia Keys)
  • “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
  • “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”
  • “Run This Town” (feat. Rihanna and Kanye West)

#7 Radiohead

Radiohead continued their trajectory as one of their generation’s most critically acclaimed indie rock bands into the 2000s, with albums like “Kid A” and “In Rainbows.” Renowned for their willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of rock music, they embraced electronic elements, unconventional song structures, and introspective lyrics. Their innovative release strategies, including the pay-what-you-want model for “In Rainbows,” demonstrated their commitment to challenging industry norms. Radiohead’s profound influence on the alternative music scene and their ability to constantly evolve without losing their core identity made them one of the decade’s most influential bands.

Popular songs include:

  • “Everything in Its Right Place”
  • “Idioteque”
  • “Knives Out”
  • “There There”
  • “Jigsaw Falling into Place”

#6 OutKast

OutKast, the André 3000 and Big Boi duo redefined hip-hop in the 2000s with their innovative sound and eclectic style. Albums like “Stankonia” and the double album “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” blended rap with funk, soul, rock, and pop, breaking genre barriers and garnering critical and commercial acclaim. Hits like “Hey Ya!” and “Ms. Jackson” became cultural touchstones, showcasing their versatility and creativity. OutKast’s ability to appeal to a wide range of listeners, combined with their artistic ambition and Southern hip-hop roots, cemented their legacy as genre pioneers in the 2000s.

Featured in our top green album covers and best rap albums ever!

Popular songs include:

  • “Hey Ya!”
  • “Ms. Jackson”
  • “The Way You Move” (feat. Sleepy Brown)
  • “Roses”
  • “So Fresh, So Clean”

#5 Rihanna

Rihanna burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s and quickly became one of the most iconic figures in pop music. Her distinctive voice and a knack for picking chart-topping hits catapulted her to stardom. Albums like “Good Girl Gone Bad” and “Rated R” showcased her versatility, embracing a blend of R&B, pop, dance, and reggae influences. Hits such as “Umbrella” and “Disturbia” dominated the charts and cemented her status as a pop and style icon. Rihanna’s fearless approach to music and fashion and her charismatic presence made her a defining artist of the decade.

Popular songs include:

  • “Umbrella” (feat. Jay-Z)
  • “Disturbia”
  • “Don’t Stop the Music”
  • “Russian Roulette”
  • “Take a Bow”

#4 Eminem

Eminem, the controversial and outspoken rapper from Detroit, solidified his place as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 2000s. His raw, autobiographical lyrics, intricate rhymes, and dynamic flow captured the struggles and triumphs of his life, resonating with a broad audience. Albums like “The Marshall Mathers LP” and “The Eminem Show” broke records and challenged societal norms, while hits like “Lose Yourself” became anthems of resilience. Eminem’s ability to tackle complex personal and social issues with humor and honesty made him a pivotal figure in hip-hop.

Popular songs include:

  • “Lose Yourself”
  • “Without Me”
  • “Stan” (feat. Dido)
  • “The Real Slim Shady”
  • “Love the Way You Lie” (feat. Rihanna)

#3 Kanye West

Kanye West rose to prominence in the 2000s for his groundbreaking production and his visionary approach to hip-hop songs. Albums like “The College Dropout,” “Late Registration,” and “Graduation” redefined the genre, blending soulful samples with introspective and often controversial lyrics. West’s flair for the dramatic and his willingness to experiment with different sounds and themes pushed the boundaries of mainstream music. His impact extended beyond his own discography, influencing a generation of artists with his innovative style and larger-than-life persona.

Popular songs include:

  • “Gold Digger” (feat. Jamie Foxx)
  • “Stronger”
  • “Heartless”
  • “Jesus Walks”
  • “All of the Lights”

#2 Beyoncé

Beyoncé transcended her beginnings in Destiny’s Child to become a global superstar in the 2000s. Her albums “Dangerously in Love,” “B’Day,” and “I Am… Sasha Fierce” showcased her vocal range, versatility, and unmatched performance skills. Hits like “Crazy in Love,” “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” and “Halo” were not only commercially successful but also culturally significant, empowering listeners and shaping the musical landscape. Beyoncé’s influence went beyond music; she became a symbol of power, femininity, and activism, making her one of the most revered artists of the decade.

Popular songs include:

  • “Crazy in Love” (feat. Jay-Z)
  • “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”
  • “Irreplaceable”
  • “Halo”
  • “If I Were a Boy”

#1 Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a unique and soulful voice in the 2000s music scene, known for her deep, expressive vocals and a modern take on classic soul, jazz, and R&B. Her album “Back to Black” became a global sensation, thanks to its honest and poignant exploration of love, heartbreak, and addiction. Tracks like “Rehab” and “Back to Black” combined retro musical aesthetics with contemporary themes, resonating with audiences worldwide. Winehouse’s raw talent, vulnerability, distinctive style and persona left an indelible mark on music, making her one of the decade’s most influential and unforgettable artists.

Popular songs include:

  • “Rehab”
  • “Back to Black”
  • “You Know I’m No Good”
  • “Tears Dry on Their Own”
  • “Valerie” (Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse)

Who was the biggest star of the 2000s?

Determining the single most prominent star of the 2000s is subjective, given the decade’s diversity in music and the rise of many influential artists across genres. However, names like Beyoncé, Eminem, and Britney Spears are often highlighted for their monumental impact on music and culture during the decade. Beyoncé’s transition from Destiny’s Child to a solo powerhouse, Eminem’s unprecedented success in hip-hop, and Britney Spears’ pop domination make them some of the most iconic figures of the 2000s.

What was the biggest song of the 2000s?

Several songs define the 2000s, but “Hey Ya!” by OutKast stands out for its widespread acclaim, commercial success, and lasting cultural impact. Its unique blend of funk, rap, and pop, catchy chorus, and innovative music video captured the essence of the decade’s musical experimentation and cross-genre appeal. Other contenders for the biggest song of the 2000s include Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love,” Eminem’s “Lose Yourself,” and Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.”

What was different about 2000s music?

The 2000s music was characterized by its incredible diversity and the blurring of genre lines, partly due to the advent of the internet and digital music platforms. This era saw the rise of digital downloads and streaming, changing how people accessed and discovered music. The emergence of new genres and subgenres, the revival of indie and alternative music, and the increased influence of hip-hop and R&B in mainstream pop also marked the decade. Additionally, the 2000s experienced a significant use of auto-tune and other production technologies, shaping the sound of recordings.

What music genre was popular in the 2000s?

Several music genres gained popularity in the 2000s, but hip-hop and R&B were particularly influential. Artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem, Usher, and Rihanna dominated the charts and helped bring hip-hop and R&B to the forefront of mainstream music. Pop music continued to be a significant force, with stars like Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Lady Gaga leading the charge. Additionally, the 2000s saw the rise of indie rock and emo bands, reflecting the decade’s diversity in musical tastes and styles.

Emily, a writer and retro music enthusiast at Upbeat Geek, delves into the history of music and pop culture, spotlighting legendary artists and trends. A fixture at festivals and concerts, she brings the latest in music lore to the forefront. Emily’s love for music research is matched by her enjoyment of leisurely Sunday walks with her dog, Lee, reflecting her areas of writing: music and pop culture.

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