The teenage crooner that gave us “My Way” in 1997 has come a long way from the chubby cheeked heartbreaker to the six-packed sex symbol he is today. When he released “Confessions in 2004, he showcased his staying power as an R&B legend while marking his place on Billboard charts with three number one hits.
2. Mariah Carey- “MIMI”
After recovering from a bombed movie, dismal record sales and a huge case of the “crazies,” the eight octave diva shot the critics down with her top-selling album “MIMI,” and the follow-up “E=mc2,” which continues to dominate the Billboard Charts and radio airwaves.
3. Black Eyed Peas-“Elephunk”
The group was virtually unknown when it released “Behind the Front” in 1998. But, when its original background singer (Kim Hill) disbanded and was replaced with Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson, the group released its breakout album “Elephunk” in 2003. The album produced three hits and helped to launch the solo careers of both Will.i.am and Fergie.
4. Mary J. Blige-“Breakthrough”
After dropping “What’s the 411?” in 1991, Blige’s personal setbacks of drugs and destructive relationships almost killed her career. But, in 2005 the “Queen of Hip-Hop” released “Breakthrough,” which produced two number one hits and signified the queen’s newfound independence and strength.
5. LL Cool J.-“Mr. Smith”
Since hitting the scenes in the late 80’s, LL Cool J has managed to stay in the rap scene for what seems a decade. After two albums, LL’s career became stagnate and he decided to re-introduce himself to the world in 1995 with “Mr. Smith,” arguably his best album to date. The first single, “Doing It” was the biggest hit of the summer.
6. Nas- “Stillmatic”
Amidst a series of rap disses from his rivals after the release of Illmatic in 1994, Nas decided to come back hard with the 2001 release of “Stillmatic.” The album showcased the best of the rap icon and opened the door for music collaborations with former rival Jay-Z.
7. Dr. Dre-“Up in smoke Tour”
Dre had not experienced much success since " The Chronic” album. However, when Eminem (Marshall Mathers) joined his record label, the producer/rapper offered up the goods with hard beats, and collaborations with Eminem, Xzibit and Snoop. The “Up in Smoke Tour” in 2001 established that Dre was here to stay.
8. Snoop Dogg-“The Last Meal”
Like Dre, Snoop had a hard time matching “The Chronic” album’s success. But, when he decided to stop trying to follow rap trends and stick to the old Snoop style, he was able to release “The Last Meal” in 2000 which won him rave reviews and a series of magazine covers.
9. Common- “ Finding Forever”
Ever since his “Like Water for Chocolate” album release in 2000, the former underground rapper has been making headway as a talented artist slowly merging into the mainstream. But, when he teamed up with Kanye West in 2007 and released “Finding Forever” he officially established himself as a crossover artist with mass appeal.
10. Flavor Flav-“ VH1’s Flavor of Love”
Although Flavor Flav has not released an album since the 80’s, it would be unfair to leave him off the list. He has managed to re-introduce himself to the world through both reality shows “Flavor of Love” and “Strange love,” and the career move has allowed Flav to go back to the studio to record a new album that is currently in the works. Already a music icon, Flav’s comeback has garnered a new generation of fans.