Jay-Z & Kanye West – Ni**as In Paris
Collaboration between artists has generally been a successful strategy for building community in the rap scene. When 2 of the genre’s giants come together for a collaboration, the results are usually catastrophic (in a good way).
Despite not being released as a single, Ni**as In Paris went on to chart exceptionally well. It is still considered a landmark during the golden age of Kanye West’s career.
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
In a genre dominated by electronic producers, it’s rare for an actual band to break through to the pop mainstream. However, Imagine Dragons are perhaps one of the most recent bands that have become a household name.
One of the group’s earliest (and most successful) hits is the track, Radioactive, from their debut album. The song has a stripped-down electronic pop feel with some catchy melodic vocal hooks.
Rema – Calm Down
As an artist, Rema has a story that is likely worthy of the Hollywood treatment on the big screen. He was discovered by means of an Instagram post, resulting in a record deal and dominating Nigerian pop charts.
Rema’s track, Calm Down, eventually broke into international acclaim with a remix featuring Selena Gomez. If anything, Calm Down shows how remixes can play a vital role in the marketing strategy for a music single, even if the originally written song was better for many.
Nas – Nas Is Like
Nas is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time, especially with his landmark debut album, Illmatic. It isn’t always easy to maintain meteoric momentum, but Nas capitalized on his success throughout the 1990s.
His track, Nas Is Like, comes from his double album, I Am…, displaying the smooth flow Nas is known for. Even by today’s standards, Nas’s delivery serves as a source of inspiration for up-and-coming artists.
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Is This Love
Bob Marley is essentially the artist that made reggae famous on a worldwide level. While politics and cannabis likely first come to mind when you think of Bob and The Wailers, Marley’s sermons always had hints of fundamental human truths.
Is This Love is of course a love song, one that embraces the feel-good attitude reggae is known for. Its memorable chorus and theme of positivity have made it a bonafide international hit that stands the test of time.
The Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?
The Black Eyed Peas are generally considered pop royalty, especially since they’ve performed at the Super Bowl. But most people’s introduction to the group actually came with the 2003 album, Elephunk.
The track that broke the group to mainstream success was the song, Where Is The Love? This is actually the first track the group released after adding Fergie to its lineup, which ultimately proved fortuitous.
Bryan Adams – (Everything I Do) I Do It For You
Bryan Adams is no stranger to the heights of the pop charts. His sentimental tracks are generally considered to be some of the greatest songs ever written.
If songs are measured the “best” by their success, (Everything I Do) I Do It For You ranks up there. This soft ballad absolutely dominated pop charts around the world and continues to be one of the greatest love songs.
The Pointer Sisters – I'm So Excited
Music is all about conveying different emotions, with common moods including love, heartbreak, and everything in between. But, when you think about it, excitement is one mood that generally seems to be overlooked.
The Pointer Sisters perfectly encapsulate how it feels to be excited with the song, I’m So Excited. Be honest, how many times has this song popped into your head during your own moments of excitement?
Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing
Speaking of musical moods, there is probably no song more associated with sex than Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing. Maybe the only contender is Gaye’s other track, Let’s Get It On.
Marvin absolutely dominated the industry during the 1970s, eventually hanging up the phone in the early 1980s. Sexual Healing is actually his last single, showing that Marvin Gaye was still in his prime after all these years.
Missy Elliott – Get Ur Freak On
The early 2000s really could be considered a monumental evolution in the direction of pop music. After a decade dominated by rock elements, rap, and hip-hop rose to take over the landscape.
In 2001, Missy Elliott released Get Ur Freak On, which has an exotic musical hook that is instantly memorable. It's songs like these that you will want to revisit if you’re seeking out a dose of nostalgia.
Bobby McFerrin – Don't Worry Be Happy
If you were alive during the early 2000s, you probably remember Big Mouth Billy Bass. For those of you who weren’t, this was essentially a robotic singing fish that was mounted onto a plaque.
One of the songs that Big Mouth Bill Bass sings is Bobby McFerrin’s hit single, Don’t Worry Be Happy. It's a song that every human could benefit from taking to heart, no matter what decade it is.
2Pac – Hit ‘Em Up
During the 1990s, a divide began to exist between rap artists on the East Coast and those on the West. The resulting violence often made the “gangsta” in gangsta rap appear to be all too real.
At one point in time, 2Pac believed The Notorious B.I.G. had placed a contract out for 2Pac’s life. Though they were once friends, Hit ‘Em Up is a potent diss track regarding this scenario. It showed him to be a top young songwriter at the time.
The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
Many often forget that The Rolling Stones were just as important as The Beatles with regard to the British Invasion. They began as a group influenced heavily by blues music before reinventing their sound again and again.
In the late 1960s, psychedelic elements of music began to seep into the common consciousness of mainstream audiences. Gimme Shelter might be one of the most psychedelic songs to exist from that time period.