The past decade has shown us a lot, from the death of Michael Jackson to the birth of Auto-tune. It has also brought us some of the most horrific scandals and probably one of the worst economic crisis this country has seen in a long time. Of all of these things, which will be remembered the most? Billboard.com has broken down the top 50 for us. Check it out…
10. Eminem and Elton John hook up (February 21, 2001)
Eminem’s “Marshal Mathers LP” offended just about everyone on some level. Yet, it was the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that hit the highest roof when the album was nominated for four Grammys in 2001, proclaiming that Em’s rhymes were particularly hateful towards homosexuals. Mathers shot backby joining hands with openly-gay icon Elton John during the performance of his hit “Stan” at the awards show. The display of brotherly love didn’t sway the 200 GLAAD protesters picketing outside the Staples Center, but Em walked away with a Best Rap Album award nonetheless.
9. Reggeaton Goes Global (October 5, 2004)
Reggae, dancehall and hip-hop music were merged together long before Daddy Yankee ignited his “Gasolina,” but it took more than a decade for Reggeaton to find favor outside of Latin America. Enter N.O.R.E., whose 2004 hit “Oye Mi Canto” broke down languge and cultural barriers and finally took the genre to the U.S. charts. Daddy Yankee’s ubiquitous jam soon followed, and Reggeaton lit a fire on dancefloors around the world around that has yet to burn out.
8. Mariah Carey Momentarily Loses Her Mind (July 19, 2001)
She’s had more number ones than any diva in history, but Mariah Carey wasn’t always on top. In fact, Mimi went as low as she could go in 2001 during a cringe-worthy appearance on MTV’s TRL that featured the most famous striptease in pop history. After the bombing her “Glitter” soundtrack got her dropped from from a lucrative contract with Vrigin records later that year, it seemed like Carey was down for the count. But the girl with the platinum pipes came back fighting with 2005’s “Emancipation of Mimi,” which spawned the decade’s No. 1 single and proved that Mariah and pop success really do belong together.
7. ODB OD’s ( November 14, 2004)
Osiris, Big Baby Jesus, Dirt McGirt, Ol’ Dirty Bastard… Russell Tyrone Jones was a man of many monikers. But all of his personas were silenced in 2004 when, just two days before his 36th birthday, the outrageous, eccentric and unpredictable rapper died of a lethal mixture of cocaine and the prescription drug Tramadol while working at the Wu Tang studios in New York. His untimely departure leaves a gaping a hole in the still-functioning Clan that will never be filled.
6. The Ringtone Takeover (May 17, 2005)
By now, even your 70-year-old grandmother has a ringtone. The downloadable tunes have proved to be not just a fashionable way to broadcast your favorite T-Pain song to the world, they also provide a solid revenue stream for a struggling music industry. Therefore, it only made sense for us to begin tracking sales of the tones to see exactly which ones were causing the most buzz. (What is the all-time king of the Billboard ringtone chart, you ask? Click the video to the right to hear for yourself.)
5. Jay-Z and Nas Squash The Beef ( June 28, 2001)
Jay-Z and Nas weren’t the first rappers to have beef, but theirs cooked longer and hotter than most. For four years, the two emcees battled it out on wax, creating one of the most high-profile rivalries in the history of hip-hop. But despite all of the ugly rhymes dropped by both sides, the feud ended peacefully and respectfully, with Nas appearing alongside and trading verses with Jay-Z at a concert in 2005. Now if Jigga could just make up with Beanie Sigel.
4. Record Stores Fail Across The US (October 9, 2006)
For 40 years, the Tower Records brand was synonymous with music in the minds of many buyers. As CD sales dwindled in the wake of digital stores like iTunes, the once-powerful chain was forced to file for bankruptcy twice in the 2000s, eventually shutting its physical doors in October 2006. Virgin Records and hundreds of independent stores across the country soon followed, signaling that the one-stop music shop was fast becoming an antiquated idea.
3. Whitney Tells 20/20 “Crack Is Wack” (December 4, 2002)
When she sat down for her infamous “20/20” interview in 2002, Whitney Houston had plenty of rumors to disprove. Diane Sawyer asked her about everything from her rail-thin frame to her tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown, but Houston’s most memorable response was to the rumor that she was addicted to drugs: “I make too much money to smoke crack,” she replied. “Crack is wack.” Years later, Houston went to rehab. When the singer triumphantly returned in 2009 with “I Look to You,” fans were as relieved as they were thrilled.
2. Left Eye Dies In Car Crash (April 25, 2002)
Hip-hop wild-child Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes made headlines for her characteristic rhymes, her unique fashions, and for burning down her boyfriend’s mansion during TLC’s heyday. But Lopes made the biggest news when she was killed in a car accident while vacationing in Honduras in 2002, putting an end to the biggest-selling girl group of all time. Her autopsy photos would later leak, sparking additional controversy and conversation around her untimely death.
1. Michael Jackson Dies (June 25, 2009)
Michael Jackson’s death impacted the world in ways that both his fans and his critics are still trying to comprehend. Once news of his passing began to spread, the personal dramas that follow him throughout his adult life — the Jesus Juice, the numerous noses, the decision to wear pajamas in court — all faded into the background (though new drama about the circumstances of his death began filling the tabloids almost immediately). As sales of Jackson’s old albums soared over the summer, it became clear that his rich contribution to American pop culture was all that anyone wanted to remember.
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