The 2000s were a big decade for music. Whether you were a fan of rock, rap, or pop music, there were countless artists to please any taste. In this article, we’ll examine some of the most influential artists of the 2000s, looking at how they transformed their genre and made us all want to check out our favourite radio station.
Looking at rock music first, the 2000s saw the continued rise of alternative and the emergence of indie rock groups to the forefront of the genre. By far the most preeminent example of 2000s rock music was Green Day’s American Idiot. A rock opera centring on the apathy and confusion of a post 9/11 world, American Idiot catapulted Green Day back to the limelight after almost disappearing entirely from the music scene. Later artists also cite Radiohead as a major influence, pointing to the experimental art rock albums of Kid A and Hail to the Thief as pushing the boundaries of modern rock. Finally, teens who grew up during the decade will forever remember The Killers as the little engine that could, going from an obscure indie band to playing sold out shows in some of the world’s biggest arenas.
While rock music had several genre-defining hits in the 2000s, the rap genre quickly dominated music charts during the decade. Most music experts would agree that Eminem was the most important rapper of the decade. No matter where you went in the 2000s, it was hard to miss the influence of Eminem. Despite the focus of numerous controversies, Slim Shady raked in numerous Grammy Awards and even an Oscar for Best Original Song, securing his influence over future generations. Not to be outdone, Kanye West is another titan of 2000s rap music. Originally a producer of fellow genre behemoth Jay-Z, West secured his place in the pantheon of great rappers with his 2004 album The College Dropout, which was lauded for its fantastic production values.
Fans of pop music could also find artists they enjoyed in the 2000s. Former NSYNC singer Justin Timberlake is regarded by most critics as the defining pop star of the decade. Timberlake’s hits such as “Rock Your Body” and “Cry Me A River” lit up dance halls and clubs throughout the early-2000s. Fans of country-pop could turn to Shania Twain for more than their fill. Twain’s 2002 album Up! was certified 11x Platinum by the RIAA, cementing her position on the Queen of Country Pop.