Music was an important aspect of my life growing up, so I decided to make a definitive list of iconic songs/artists that helped define specific time periods of my childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. This is the second of a 3 part series of posts. Each time period will contain 10 highlights, in no particular order, that I felt best fit my experience. So sit back, relax, and relive your youth.
This second post goes out to the middle 80's babies (84-86).
1. Mainstream/Suburban Rappers
Early 2000's introduced us to the mainstream rapper. Those whose songs were played on the pop stations and every suburban kid knew the lyrics. Their songs became party staples and feel good anthems. Ludacris became the most notable of these rappers with his 2000 album "Back for the First Time" which included several hits such as "Southern Hospitality" and "Ho", but none relished in the success of mainstream recognition more than his 2000 hit "What's Your Fantasy". Ludacris had several other hits to his name including "Roll Out", "Move Bitch", "Area Codes", and "Splash, Waterfalls". Another prominent mainstream rapper was Chingy. Freshman year of college wouldn't have been the same without his hits. He had several singles off of his debut album "Jackpot" including "Right Thurr" and "One Call Away", then quickly disappeared from the music scene.
2000: Ludacris - What's Your Fantasy
2003: Chingy - Holidae in
Honorable mentions: Eminem - Lose Yourself / 50 Cent - In Da Club / Nelly - Ride wit Me
2. Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne burst onto the scene in 2002 with her debut album "Let Go". Teenage girls everywhere tried to emulate her punk rock princess aesthetic by wearing ties as belts and wife beaters. She was feminine yet tough and her albums were full of empowering songs. Her follow up CD "Under my Skin" was equally as successful, with hits like "Nobody's Home" and "My Happy Ending". Avril eventually faded from the music scene, married and divorced Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, and announced publicly that she was battling Lyme Disease. The fact still remains that Avril was an important icon of the early 2000's music scene.
2002: Avril Lavigne - Complicated
2004:Avril Lavigne - Don't Tell Me
3. Christina Aguilera
Christina's sophomore effort "Stripped" was a revelation. She had a new dirtier image and her songs were more personal than ever. She also emerged with piercings in places I had never thought of before and black hair. She literally was a completely different person. The entire album was amazing and her talent really shined. She made young girls feel empowered and confident. Her single "Beautiful" really struck a cord with teenagers going thru hard times who were doubting themselves. The song earned her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
2003: Christina Aguilera - Can't Hold us Down
2002: Christina Aguilera - Beautiful
4. Terrible "Rock"
Not much needs to be said about this category. These bands are awful, terrible, tacky, and for some reason you know all the lyrics and jam them "ironically". No one did this better than Nickelback. Often immitated, but never duplicated. They had songs about sex, songs about break ups, songs about...who the hell cares. It was good, good and terrible. Limp Bizkit also made a name for themselves in the early 00's with their awful music that for some reason I was drawn to. Now looking back at my life choices, I realize how wrong I was and I would like to apologize to anyone and everyone.
2001: Nickelback - How You Remind Me
1999: Limp Bizkit - Nookie
Honorable: Creed - Arms Wide Open / Hinder - Lips of an Angel / Linkin Park - In the End
5. Black Eyed Peas/Fergie
Black Eyed Peas had been active in music since 1995, but it wasn't until they added Fergie to the lineup that they started to dominate the charts. I remember a Black Eyed Peas song playing on the radio literally every 5 mins during their peak from 2003-2006. Their most prolific single "My Humps" was released in 2005 from their sophomore effort "Monkey Business". A song that was literally about a women's "humps" became one of the biggest hits of 2005. Piggybacking on the success of the BEPs, Fergie released her solo effort 2006's "The Dutchess". She had numerous hits including "Glamourous" and "Big Girls Don't Cry".
2005: Black Eyed Peas - My Humps
2006: Fergie - Fergalicious
6. Career Revivals
Many artists reignited their stagnant careers in the early to mid 2000's, but no one did it better and with more authority than the great Mariah Carey. Coming fresh of her divorce from Tommy Mottola, Mariah hit the airwaves with her 10th studio album "Emancipation of Mimi" which became the best selling album of 2005 in the US. The second single off the album "We
Belong Together" was #1 on the Billboard charts for an astounding 14 weeks. Carey went on the marry & divorce Nick Cannon and have twins.
2005: Mariah Carey - We Belong Together
Honorable Mentions: Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl / Outkast - Hey Ya! / Usher - Yeah
7. Female Rap/R&b solo artists
Female Rap/R&B artists really hit a stride in the mid 00's. Destiny's Child had already been enjoying superstar status when the group's leader, Beyonce headed out on her solo career. Now regarded as one of the most talented and influential female artists of all time, Beyonce's 1st solo single "Crazy in Love" was an instant hit. The song introduced the world to her powerhouse coupling with Jay-Z. In 2004, Ciara jumped into the scene. Her lead single "Goodies" was hit along with several other singles. She has enjoyed continued success with several singles such as "Ride Wit Me", "Oh", and "Promise".
2003: Beyonce - Crazy in Love
2004: Ciara: Goodies
Honorable Mentions: Brooke Valentine - Girlfight / Christina Milian - Dip it Low / Tweet - Oops (Oh my)
8. Pussycat Dolls
The Pussycat Dolls were originally a burlesque group founded by Robin Antin in Los Angeles. With the addition of Nicole Scherzinger they became a bona fide musical group that dropped girl anthem after girl anthem. Their hits include "Buttons", "StickwitU", & "When I Grow Up". Internal conflict eventually sidelined the group in 2009, but their songs, in particular "Don't Cha" are staple in every music playlist.
2005: Pussycat Dolls - Don't Cha
9. Produced by Timbaland
Timbland gained noteriety in the 90's producing albums for several artists including Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, and Ginuwine. Timbaland made a comeback on the careers of Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado in mid 00's. You could immediately tell who made the hook as his songs seemed to have the signature Timbaland beat to it. He also seemed to pop up in his friends videos and live performances. Timbaland released his solo album "Shock Value" in 2007, but he will be remembered for producing some of the hottest albums of 2006.
2007: Justin Timberlake - What Goes Around, Comes Around
2006: Nelly Furtado - Promiscuous Girl
10. Club Bangers
My college experience was full of amazing bar and club anthems. These were songs that everyone would shout out spilling their drink while dancing. Lil' Jon started the "crunk music movement", and he also became a pop culture icon with his catchphrases. Spring break 2004 was full of drunk frat guys yelling "YEAH!" & "Okay!" at 7:30am in the morning from the hot tub at the Radisson on South Padre Island. Ying Yang twins also got in on the action and made several mindless club songs such as "Whisper" and "Whistle while you twurk".
2003: Lil' Jon - Get Low
2004: Ying Yang Twins - Salt Shaker
Honorable Mentions: Bubba Sparxxx - Ms. New Booty / Crime Mob - Knuck if You Buck / David Banner - Play
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Info Sources: my memory & 345
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What are some of your musical memories, ONTD? Part 1 posted HERE Part 3 posted HERE