Artists of the Decade Page Two

Billboard Artists of the Decade

After recovering from the critically-panned "Glitter" album in 2001, Carey returned with a string of huge hits, including the decade's top song, "We Belong Together." "(It's not about) showing off so everybody can hear me singing at the top of my lungs," she told us in 2005. "But, truth be told, I feel that my voice is in a better place than it has been in years."
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Earlier hits like "Where Is the Love?" and "My Humps" set the stage for the Peas. But the quartet made history in 2009 by remaining atop the Hot 100 for 26 consecutive weeks with the first two singles from "The E.N.D.," its first album to top the Billboard 200. "What we've gone through to get here has been... some unique-ass shit," Will.i.am mused in May. "We haven't changed conceptually from what the Peas were and wanted to be: mass appeal, not segregation. And we've stayed true to that."
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A lull followed her success earlier in the decade, but a re-release of the song "U + Ur Hand" in 2007 spurred Pink's first Hot 100 top 10 in five years. Pink went on to score her very first No. 1 song in 2008 with "So What," and the colorful pop star hasn't looked back since. "I've fought for my credibility in this pop world," Pink told us in 2007. "I was never the popular kid, God dammit. But I am now."
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Video made more than one radio star this decade. Not only did "American Idol" become TV's top-rated series, it also transformed how artists could gain exposure to mainstream audiences. Still, the show's first champion, who scored eight top 10 hits on the Hot 100 this decade, said that success didn't come easy. "It hasn't been overnight for me," Clarkson told us earlier this year. "I have been working on this music thing for years, and for it to explode this way feels amazing."
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Kanye West's outrageous antics are so notorious, it's sometimes easy to forget that the producer-turned-rapper-turned-auto-tune-crooner has given us some of the most innovative pop songs of the past 10 years. "I want everything associated with me to be the best and push the boundary of what you think is possible," he said in 2007.
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The singer/actor/record executive has masterfully balanced chart domination (three of his albums topped the Billboard 200 this decade) with the rest of his multi-tasking efforts, becoming one of hip-hop's quintessential renaissance men. "You only have one life to live and life is short," Ludacris said last year. "It's not easy juggling so many hats. But I still have a lot to prove."
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In just four short years, Rihanna has gone from an endearing dancehall queen to a multi-platinum powerhouse whose music and fashion set the pace for most of her pop peers. "For me, 'bad girl' does not mean 'wild girl,'" she said of her 2007 smash "Good Girl Gone Bad." "It's more about taking chances, trying new things, visually and musically."
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Creed ruled the charts early in the decade with two back-to-back Billboard 200 chart-toppers -- 1999's "Human Clay" and 2001's "Weathered." After a well-publicized break-up in 2004, the band roared back after a five-year hiatus with the Rock Albums chart No. 1 " Full Circle " in November 2009, much to the delight of their impatiently waiting fans. "Creating music together is the easy part for this band," Scott Stapp told Billboard in July. "It's all the other things involved in the business of rock and roll that can pull us all away from what we love to do most, which is write music and play live."
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With six cooks in their rock 'n' roll kitchen, you'd think that the members of Linkin Park would have difficulties forging ahead in the same creative direction. But the method to their multi-platinum madness, which has earned them five Top 5 albums on the Billboard 200 this decade, is to just go with the flow. "I find that over-planning a creative project usually means you're gonna screw it up," said Chester Bennington told us in 2009. "When a song comes, I'll write it. When a song comes to Mike [Shinoda], he'll put [it] down. We just kind of roll with it spontaneously."
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Many teen pop sensations don't carry their success into adulthood. But 30-year-old Aguilera has successfully segued from kid star to adult icon (and mother), fueled by her musically-diverse 2006 album "Back to Basics." "I constantly change my image," she explained to Billboard in 2008. "Luckily, from what I can tell from reading letters and conversing with them when on tour, my fans love and are always open to my love for change."
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