These artists reinvented their genres — and themselves — to earn impressive influence and staying power. They forced the industry to change with them, and it did. They gave us new sounds, performance styles and even industry standards (hey, Taylor Swift). Their music didn’t just define the decade, it pushed us all forward. Here’s a look at 10 of the most influential artists of the decade.
Drake in his 2018 music video for “In My Feelings,” which also inspired that viral internet trend. For: Blurring the line between hip hop and pop, thus redefining a genre. Ah, Drake. Where to begin?At this point, Drake — rapper, singer, unofficial Toronto Raptors’ mascot — has become something of a behemoth in the culture. It seems like every year we’ve had a Drake project. He’s released five studio albums and three mixtapes this decade alone, and it’s impossible to think about music of the 2010s without coming up with a few Drake hits. He was, after all, the decade’s most streamed artist on Spotify. The numbers don’t lie, people! Why he mattersEarlier this year, a New York Times critic gave Drake credit for popularizing rap-singing. Many, many people disagreed. But Drake undeniably brought hip-hop to the masses, deftly flitting between pop and rap with palatable hits and a self-assured swagger.”Hold On, We’re Going Home” is one of those songs. Drake croons over a synth-pop beat, and the track isn’t a hip-hop song at all. It’s something else. And who can deny the versatility of his jams, perfect for both the Saturday night turn up and the Wednesday night cry session? (Hello, “Marvin’s Room.”) He’s managed to stay popular even amid controversy, like texting underage girls and beefing with Pusha T. All of it equates to the rapper-singer-whatever becoming a defining figure of the 2010s, whether we like it or not.