The aughts were a time when all sorts of musical genres — from pop and R&B to hip hop and pop-punk — were simultaneously having major moments. Consequently, the musicians behind the decade's chart-topping hits became superstars who truly felt larger than life. One of those artists is Eminem, who turns 45 on Oct. 17, 2017. The rapper born Marshall Mathers was the 2000s' top-selling artist thanks to 32.2 million in combined sales. He entered the scene in the late '90s but dominated the aughts with two of the top-selling albums of the entire decade: "The Marshall Mathers LP" and "The Eminem Show." Read on to see other top-selling musicians of the 2000s and where they are today…
Eminem enjoyed six No. 1 studio albums and success with his 2002 film "8 Mile," but he's also struggled with addiction. In 2008, he sought treatment for a prescription pill addiction that heavily influenced the 2009 album "Relapse" and the 2010 album "Recovery." Though his last album was released in 2013, in 2015, Eminem produced the soundtrack to the Jake Gyllenhaal film "Southpaw." As of late, Slim Shady is reportedly working on a follow-up to his 2013 effort (rumored to drop some time in November 2017) and has been keeping a pretty low profile. Though he has been quiet about his love life since splitting from wife Kim Scott for the second time, their beautiful daughter, 21-year-old Michigan State University student Hailie Jade, has been happy to post pics of herself with her boyfriend on her Instagram page.
Britney Spears became legendary the moment she dropped her first single, "…Baby One More Time," in 1998. The ingenue in pigtails and a schoolgirl outfit soon transformed into a sexy snake-wrangling global performer. Her 2000 album "Oops!… I Did It Again" sold more than 25 million copies worldwide while the 2001 album "Britney" moved more than 15 million copies and 2003's "In the Zone" sold more than 10 million. All said, she was one of the most successful artists of the decade — at least until her personal life overshadowed her career.
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Britney Spears famously struggled with mental health issues and a dramatic love life in the late aughts. But thanks to loving intervention from her family, she was able to build back her life and career while under a personal and financial conservatorship overseen by her father. Thanks to her improved health — and with nine chart-topping albums to her name — she launched a Las Vegas residency, "Britney: Piece of Me," in 2013. The show quickly became one of the most successful in Vegas history. After a four-year run, the Sin City spectacle will end in December 2017. Britney shares two sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline and has been dating fitness model Sam Asghari, whom she met on the set of her "Slumber Party" video, since late 2016.
Norah Jones' 2002 debut album, "Come Away With Me," sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and earned her five Grammy Awards, including the prizes for album of the year and best new artist. Her success was so great in the 2000s that Billboard named her the top jazz artist of the decade.
Since the critical success of her smash single "Don't Know Why" in 2002, Norah Jones has released six albums. Following a brief but significant run as an indie pop star, Norah continued to make music, trying out different genres but garnering less press and accolades. To true-blue fans' delight, her last album, 2016's "Day Breaks," marked a return to her jazzy beginnings. In 2014, she welcomed a son and in 2016 had a daughter with her musician husband, whom she has never publicly identified.
Usher is another major chart-topper of the 2000s. He rose to fame in 1997 with his first album, "My Way," then had the top-selling album of the year in America with his 2004 R&B effort, "Confessions."
Usher is one of the best selling musicians of all time — he's reportedly sold more than 43 million albums worldwide — and has eight studio albums to his name. He's won eight Grammy Awards, co-owns his own record label, Raymond-Braun Media Group, and is credited with discovering Justin Bieber. Usher's continued to prove his dedication to making music in recent years with his 2016 album, "Hard II Love," which debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 charts. As for his personal life, Usher found himself in hot water in July 2017 when leaked documents alleged he'd infected a woman with herpes. Since then, more alleged victims have come forward (Usher has denied their allegations). Usher has been married to his manager, Grace Miguel, since 2015 and is a father of two boys with ex-wife Tameka Foster.
Nelly's 2000 debut album, "Country Grammar," was named No. 9 on Complex's 50 Best Selling Rap Albums of All Time list and is his best selling album with more than 8.4 million copies sold. Although Nelly continued to prosper in the first decade of the 2000s with six studio albums, he seemed to hit the pinnacle of success in the earlier part of his musical career.
Since releasing his seventh studio album, "M.O.," in 2013, Nelly has evolved into something of an entrepreneur in addition to being a rap/country music crossover artist — a feat he accomplished thanks to the success of 2004's "Over and Over," a duet with Tim McGraw, and 2013's "Cruise" remix with Florida Georgia Line. In 2011, the "Hot in Herre" star released a fitness DVD, "Celebrity Sweat," and in 2013, he teamed up with Mike and Ike candy for a movie trailer, "The Return of Mike and Ike." In October 2017, the St. Louis rapper — who famously dated Ashanti for a decade — found himself in legal trouble when he was arrested on suspicion of second-degree rape (he has vehemently denied the charges). Nelly is a father to a teenage daughter and son who were featured in his 2014 BET reality show, "Nellyville."
Soulful R&B crooner Ashanti came up in the early 2000s with an eponymous debut album that included the hit single "Foolish." With album sales of 503,000 in its first week, Ashanti enjoyed the honor of having the biggest first-week sales for a debut female artist ever at the time. She proceeded to snag her first Grammy in 2003 and enjoyed sharing the spotlight with frequent collaborator Ja Rule on hit singles like "Always on Time" and "Mesmerize."
Ashanti continued to make music in the 2000s and also delved into acting with parts in films like "Coach Carter" and "John Tucker Must Die." After forming her own independent label, Ashanti released her fifth studio album, "BraveHeart," in 2014 to minimal commercial success. In 2016, she emerged victorious in the third trial against a longtime stalker who had been haunting her since 2009. In 2017, she embarked on the Pain is Love Tour with Ja Rule. Ashanti famously dated Nelly for 10 years. Their relationship ended with rumors of infidelity in 2012.
Alicia Keys set the scene for a triumphant career as a piano-playing R&B songstress in 2001 with her debut album "Songs in A Minor," which sold more than 14 million copies worldwide and earned her five Grammy Awards in 2002. With hit singles like "Fallin'" and "A Woman's Worth," Alicia had a serious grip on the music charts in the first half of the decade.
Alicia Keys has drifted in and out of the spotlight but always maintained a solid reputation as a well-respected industry superstar. With six albums under her belt, she's sold over 30 million records worldwide today. She made a brilliant career move when she joined the coaching panel on "The Voice" in 2016. The same year, she made headlines for shunning makeup — every drop — and going bare-faced even at work. She's been married to music producer Swizz Beatz since 2010. They share sons Egypt and Genesis.
You can't talk about rap music in the early 2000s without mentioning raspy-voiced rapper Ja Rule. He generated several hits including "I'm Real" and "Always on Time," which both landed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He's enjoyed three No. 1 albums in his time and in 2002 was named World's Best Selling Rap Artist at the World Music Awards.
Ja Rule reigned supreme in the early 2000s but went through a significant career decline after leaving his label, Murder Inc. Records, in 2009. In July 2013, he was officially off house arrest after serving two years in state and federal prisons for weapons possession and tax crimes. In April 2017, Ja was one of the names who played some part in "organizing" the famously disastrous Fyre Festival. He also recently toured with Ashanti on the Pain is Love Tour in hopes of a nostalgia-driven revival.
Avril Lavigne made waves in the early aughts as an eyeliner-wearing punk-pop singer who basically embodied the "Hot Topic" era all by herself. In 2002, the Canadian star released her first album, "Let Go," which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. 2004's "Under My Skin" debuted at No. 1 in the United States. She saw great success with her third album, "The Best Damn Thing," too — that one boasts her most successful single, "Girlfriend." Then things began to take a turn for Avril…
Avril Lavigne's fourth studio album, 2011's "Goodbye Lullaby," and 2013's eponymous "Avril Lavigne" were commercial disappointments. It wasn't necessarily that Avril's sound had changed so much as her fans had grown up and out of their angsty teen years. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2014 and took a step back from her career to focus on her health. In August 2017, the singer promised that a new album is in the works. She married Sum 41's Deryck Whibley in 2006 and they divorced in 2009. In 2013, she married Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger, but their union dissolved in 2015. She's now dating music producer J.R. Rotem who, like Avril, also happened to have a big career in music — he produced hits for Rihanna, Sean Kingston and one-time girlfriend Britney Spears — back in the aughts.
50 Cent, aka Curtis Jackson, rose to fame in 2002 after being signed to Shady Records under the tutelage of Eminem and Dr. Dre, who ran the show at Interscope Records. The rapper, who was famously shot nine times in 2000, saw both musical and cinematic success in the early aughts. His debut studio album, "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2003 — it was also the best selling album of the year with more than 6.5 million units sold in the States (it sold 12 million worldwide) — and 2005's "The Massacre" also charted at No. 1. In 2003, he ran his own label, G-Unit Records, which boasted rappers like Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo and Young Buck. He continued to churn out hit singles on 2007's "Curtis" and 2009's "Before I Self Destruct." Fiddy also displayed his acting chops in the semi-autobiographical film "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" in 2005.
50 Cent has seen quite a few peaks and valleys in his career following his early success. After some internal disagreements with Shady Records and Interscope, he broke ties and released his fifth album, "Animal Ambition," in 2014. He's also a businessman who's been involved in several ventures including a 2014 $78 million deal with FRIGO Revolution wear and another 2014 deal with Effen Vodka. (Back in 2007, he made a fortune when Vitamin Water, in which he held a minority stake, was sold to Coca-Cola.) He was also a licensed boxing promoter. He acted in 2015's "Southpaw" and famously filed for bankruptcy that same year. Currently, he's acting and executive producing the Starz drama "Power." 50 Cent has one son with ex Shaniqua Tompkins and another with ex Daphne Joy.