The Greatest Modern Active Music Artists

Here are the 30 greatest modern active music artists, ranked by overall career importance, artistic output and current relevancy.  Entries must have peaked 1990 or later (with apologies to the still active U2, Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones etc)  Must have either released new music or toured within past 5 years to be considered active.

  1.  Radiohead   (est 1985 in Oxfordshire, England)   Current Members: Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien, and Philip Selway.    Top Albums: The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A
  2.  Dr. Dre    (est 1984 in Compton, CA)  Associated Acts: NWA, Snoop Dogg, Eminem.  Top Albums: The Chronic, Straight Outta Compton, 2001)
  3.  Pearl Jam   (est 1990 in Seattle, WA)    Current Members: Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron.    Top Albums: Ten, Vs, Vitalogy.
  4.  Beyonce   (est 1997 in Houston, TX)    Associated Acts: Destiny’s Child.  Top Albums: Dangerously in Love, Lemonade, Beyonce.
  5.  Jay-Z   (est 1996 in Brooklyn, NY)    Top Albums: Reasonable Doubt, The Blueprint, and The Black Album.
  6.  Daft Punk (est 1993 in Paris, France)    Current Members: Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter.    Top Albums: Homework, Discovery, Random Access Memories.
  7. kanye west greatest artists Kayne West (est 1996 in Chicago, IL)    Top Albums: College Dropout, Graduation, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
  8.  Metallica (est 1981 in Los Angeles, CA)    Current Members: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo.    Top Albums: The Black Album, Master of Puppers, And Justice For All  (Definite case to be made for Meticalla peaking pre-1990, but the bulk of their success and output still came from the nineties on)
  9. kendrick greatest artists Kendrick Lamar (est 2004 in Compton, CA)  Top Albums: good kid, m.A.A.d city, To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN.
  10.  Phish  (est 1983 in Burlington, VT)    Current Members: Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell.     Top Albums: A Picture of Nectar, Lawn Boy, Billy Breathes.
  11. adele greatest artists Adele (est 2006 in London, England)  Top Albums: 21, 25, 19.
  12. justin timberlake greatest artists Justin Timberlake (est 1995 in Memphis, TN)  Top Albums: Justified, FutureSex/LoveSounds, The 20/20 Experience.
  13. Red Hot Chili Peppers (est 1983 in Los Angeles, CA)     Current Members: Anthony Kiedis, Flea, Chad Smith, Josh Klinghoffer.    Top Albums: Blood Sugar Sex Magic, Californication, Stadium Arcadium.
  14. Taylor Swift greatest artists Taylor Swift (est 2004 in Nashville, TN)  Top Albums: Red, 1989, Fearless.
  15.  Eminem (est 1996 in Detroit, MI)    Top Albums: The Marshall Mathers LP, The Slip Shady LP, The Eminem Show
  16. foo fighters greatest artists Foo Fighters (est 1994 in Seattle, WA)    Current Members: Dave Grohl, Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Taylor Hawkins, Chris Shiflett, and Rami Jaffee.    Top Albums: Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape, There is Nothing Left to Lose.
  17. wu tang greatest artists Wu-Tang Clan  (est 1992 in Staten Island, NY)   Current Members: RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna.  Top Albums: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Forever, The W.
  18. nas greatest artists Nas (est 1991 in Brooklyn, NY)  Top Albums: Illmatic, It Was Written, Stillmatic.
  19. outkast greatest artists Outkast (est 1991 in Atlanta, GA)    Current Members: Andre 3000 and Big Boi.    Top Albums: Stankonia, Aquemini, ATLiens
  20. nine inch nails greatest artists Nine Inch Nails (est 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio)    Current Members: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.    Top Albums:  The Downward Spiral, Pretty Hate Machine, Year Zero.
  21.  Bruno Mars (est 2009 in Los Angeles, CA)  Top Albums: Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Unorthodox Jukebox, 24k Magic.
  22. dave matthews greatest artists Dave Matthews Band  (est 1991 in Charlottesville, VA) Current Members: Dave Matthews, Carter Beauford, Stefan Lessard, Boyd Tinsley, Tim Reynolds, Rashawn Ross, and Jeff Coffin.  Top Albums: Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, Busted Stuff.
  23.  tool greatest artists Tool (est 1990 in Los Angeles, CA)    Current Members: Danny Carey, Adam Jones, Maynard James Keenan, Justin Chancellor.    Top Albums: Aenima, Salival, Undertow.
  24.  rihanna greatest artists Rihanna (est 2003 in Saint Michael, Barbados)  Top Albums: Music of the Sun, A Girl Like Me, Good Girl Gone Bad.
  25. lcd soundsystem LCD Soundsystem (2002, Brooklyn, NY)    Current Members: James Murphy, Pat Mahoney, Nancy Whang, Tyler Pope, Al Doyle, Gavin Rayna Russom, Matt Thornley, Korey Richey.    Top Albums: LCD Soundsystem, This is Happening, Sounds of Silver
  26. green day cookie Green Day  (est 1990 in East Bay, CA)     Current Members: Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Tré Cool.    Top Albums: Dookie, American Idiot, Insomniac
  27. drake greatest artists Drake (est 2006 in Toronto, Ontario)  Top Albums: If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late, Nothing Was the Same, Take Care.
  28.  Beck (est 1985 in Los Angeles, CA)  Top Albums: Odelay, Mellow Gold, Sea Change.
  29.  Coldplay (est 1996 in London, England)   Current Members: Chris Martin, Will Champion, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman.    Top Albums: Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head, X&Y.
  30.  The Flaming Lips  (est 1983 in Oklahoma City, OK)  Current Members: Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins, Steven Drozd, Derek Brown, Jake Ingalls, Matt Duckworth, Nicholas Ley.   Top Members: The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Embryonic.


Honorable Mentions:
The Strokes, Weezer, Jack White, Primus, Maroon 5, Wilco, The Killers, Justin Bieber, Deadmau5, Gwen Stefani, Tiesto, Aphex Twin, moe, Widespread Panic, Arcade Fire, Garth Brooks, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Phoenix, Muse, Kenny Chesney, Lady Gaga, The Roots


1 Comment

  1. Mariah Carey not even in the honorable mentions? Absolutely massive impact (a lot of R&B singers today would have other jobs without her) and while she’s fell a lot she’s still probably as big as Pearl Jam today.

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