The 2000s saw some of the best male singers in the world achieve huge success. We experienced the return of older, more seasoned artists as well as the rise of new stars.
There were so many great male singers in the 2000s that it was hard to narrow it down to just 20, but we did our best. Here are the 20 best male singers of the 2000s.
1. Justin Timberlake
When you think of the 2000s, one of the first names that come to mind is Justin Timberlake. The former *NSYNC member exploded onto the solo scene in 2002 with his debut album, Justified, and he hasn’t looked back. Timberlake has released 16 albums, all of which have been huge commercial and critical successes.
He’s also won 10 Grammy Awards, 4 Emmy Awards, and 3 Brit Awards. He remains one of the biggest names in music and one of the best male singers of the 2000s selling over 88 million records worldwide.
Usher Raymond IV, simply known as Usher, is another 2000s icon. He released his self-titled debut album in 1994 when he was just 15 years old, but it wasn’t until his 2001 album, 8701, that he truly broke into the mainstream. “U Remind Me” was particularly popular, spending four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
He again hit the headline with his 2004 album, Confessions, the best-selling album of his career and one of the best-selling albums of the 2000s, with over 20 million copies sold. It includes hits like “Yeah!,” “Burn,” and “Confessions Part II.” While Usher continued to enjoy success in the 2010s, the 2000s were undoubtedly his peak.
Think “Big Pimpin'” or “Bonnie and Clyde 2003,” and you’ll think of Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z. The American rapper and business mogul got his start in the 90s. However, he gained icon status in the early 2000s with some high-profile feuds and revolutionary singles.
He enjoyed great success through collaborations with Kanye West, Linkin Park, and Beyoncé, an influential figure in the entertainment industry. He’s also the founder of Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation and is worth an estimated $1 billion, according to Forbes. Not too shabby for the Brooklyn Boy.
Jay-Z has transitioned from being the best rapper of the 2000s to one of the richest men in hip-hop and entertainment.
4. Chris Martin
The vocals on “Fix You” by Coldplay do not do justice to Chris Martin’s vocal range. The British singer and songwriter is a powerhouse and one of, if not, the best male vocalists of the 2000s. Martin is the co-founder and lead singer of Coldplay, one of the biggest bands in the world.
They’ve released 49 albums, all of which have been commercial successes. Parachutes, their debut album, was nominated for the Mercury Prize and won Best Album at the Brit Awards. The album also won the Best Alternative Music album in 2002.
Martin has had a career many would envy, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
5. Tim McGraw
Country music is ageless, and so is Tim McGraw. The American singer has been making music since the early 90s, and he’s still going strong. In the 2000s, McGraw released some of his most successful albums, including A Place in the Sun, Set This Circus Down, and Live Like You Were Dying. The latter was particularly successful, spending seven weeks at the top of the Billboard Country charts.
McGraw is a legend in the country music world, a winner of 3 Grammys, 2 American Music Awards, 10 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 12 Country Music Awards. His songs are some of the most popular country anthems, an undisputed country music icon of the 2000s.
One of Dr. Dre’s success stories, Eminem is a name that will go down in history. The controversial rapper has been making music since the late 90s, but he exploded onto the mainstream scene in 2000 with his album, The Marshall Mathers LP. The album was a critical and commercial success, winning Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album.
However, Eminem’s success was short-lived, as he soon found himself embroiled in lawsuits and personal problems. He made a comeback in 2002 with The Eminem Show and has since released several successful albums, cementing his place as one of the best rappers of all time.
Apart from dropping hit after hit, the singer has starred in several movies, including 8 Mile, The Interview, and Funny People.
7. Pharrell Williams
You might not know his name, but you know his work. Pharrell Williams is a music producer, rapper, and singer who has worked with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Kendrick Lamar, and Snoop Dogg.
In the early 2000s, he found himself at the forefront of the hip hop/R&B revolution with hits like “Angel” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” featuring Snoop Dogg.
More recently, he’s been in the news for his work on the Despicable Me franchise as well as “Happy,” the lead single from the soundtrack of Despicable Me 2.
8. Sean Paul
This list would never be complete with a reggae artist and who better to mention than Sean Paul? The Jamaican singer and songwriter is one of the most popular reggae artists of the 2000s. He rose to prominence with his debut album, Stage One, a commercial success. He followed this up with Dutty Rock, an even bigger success. The album featured the hit single “Get Busy,” which won a Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance.
Paul has released several other successful albums, including Trinity, Tomahawk Technique, and Full Frequency. He has also collaborated with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Busta Rhymes, and Snoop Dogg.
His versatility knows no bounds as he has also ventured into acting, appearing in films such as Shark Tale, Snatch, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry.
9. Kanye West
Ye—the self-proclaimed genius, the Louis Vuitton Don, and the one who interrupted Taylor Swift. There’s no denying that Kanye West is one of the music industry’s most controversial and polarizing figures. But his talent is undeniable. The American rapper and producer has been making music since the early 2000s and has released some of the most critically acclaimed albums.
His debut album, The College Dropout, was a commercial and critical success, earning him a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. He has since released several other successful albums, including Late Registration, Graduation, and Yeezus.
West is also responsible for producing some of the biggest hits of the past decade, including “Runaway” by Justin Bieber, “All of the Lights” by Rihanna, and “E.T.” by Katy Perry. A successful fashion designer, he has also released his clothing and sneakers in collaboration with Adidas.
10. Michael Jackson
Whether you love or hate him, there’s no denying that Michael Jackson was one of the most influential artists of all time. The “King of Pop” released his debut album, Off the Wall, in 1979 and shot to fame with his follow-up album, Thriller. The album was a massive success, becoming the best-selling album of all time.
Jackson followed this up with Bad, which was another commercial success. He also released several other successful albums, including Dangerous and HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.
In addition to his solo career, Jackson was a part of the successful pop group, The Jackson 5. We will forever remember him as one of the greatest entertainers. And, before we forget, he was a great dancer too!
If we are being honest, you probably didn’t expect to find Moby on this list. But the American D.J. and producer is one of the most successful electronic artists. He’s not a singer, you said? We say, listen to “Porcelain,” one of his most popular songs, and you might just change your mind.
Moby has released some of the most influential electronic albums of all time, including Play, 18, and Last Night. He redefined the genre with his 2002 album, 18, which featured the hit single “We Are All Made of Stars.”
With 20 million records sold worldwide, there’s no reason why Moby shouldn’t stake a claim for one of the most famous 2000s male singers.
12. Adam Levine
“And she will be loved.”
If those words don’t make you emotional, then we don’t know what will. Adam Levine is the lead singer of the popular American band Maroon 5. The band made its debut in 1995, releasing its first-ever album, “We Like Digging?” However, their 2002 release, “Songs About Jane,” made them a global success. The album featured the chart-topping single “She Will Be Loved” and remains their best-selling album.
Levine has had a glittering career as the frontman of Maroon 5 and as a solo artist and actor. His work outside of the band includes his work as a judge on The Voice and his role in the popular movie, Begin Again.
You might not know his name, but we are sure you know his songs. Akon is a Senegalese-American singer, songwriter, and producer who has had many hits over the past decade. His 2004 debut album, Trouble, featured the hit single “Locked Up” and established him as a successful artist.
He followed up its success with the release of Konvicted in 2006, which featured the chart-topping single “Smack That.” Akon has released several other successful albums, including Freedom and Stadium.
He has faded from the spotlight recently, but there’s no denying that he was one of the biggest names in music at the height of his career.
14. Chester Bennington
You can never talk of Linkin Park without mentioning Chester Bennington. The late singer was the frontman of the hugely successful American band and was responsible for some of their biggest hits.
The band made its debut in 2000 with Hybrid Theory. The album remains one of the best-selling debut albums of all time, with 10 million copies sold. The Collision Course E.P., a collaboration with Jay-Z, was also a huge success.
Although he is no longer with us, Chester Bennington’s contribution to music will never be forgotten.
15. John Legend
Once labeled as the new Frank Sinatra, John Legend has had a hugely successful career as a singer, songwriter, and actor. He has released seven studio albums since his debut in 1999 and has gone on to win 12 Grammy Awards. His most successful album to date is his 2006 release, Once Again, which featured the hit single “Save Room.”
He has also had success as a songwriter, having written songs for the likes of Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, and Kanye West. He has also starred in several movies and T.V. shows, including La La Land and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Born in Camden in 1979, Shaffer Chimere Smith or Ne-Yo first came to prominence as a singer in the R&B group Envy. However, it is his work as a solo artist that has made him a household name.
He released his debut album, In My Own Words, in 2006. The album featured the hit single “So Sick” and was hugely successful. Since then, he has released eight other studio albums, including Year of the Gentleman and R.E.D., and 41 singles.
Ne-Yo has also written songs for some of the biggest names in music, including Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. He has also appeared in several movies and T.V. shows, including Stomp the Yard and Red Tails.
17. Chris Brown
To most of us, Chris Brown will always be the young singer with a bright future ahead of him. And we can boldly say that he has lived up to that potential. Best known for “Run It!,” the debut single that topped the Billboard charts for five weeks, Brown has gone on to have a hugely successful career.
He has released 30 studio albums, including Graffiti and X, and has sold over 100 million records worldwide. He has also won several awards, including a Grammy and 18 B.E.T. Awards.
He has had a fair share of controversial moments, but the fact remains he has dropped some absolute bangers.
Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., better known as T.I., is an American rapper, actor, and record producer from Atlanta, Georgia. He first became prominent in the late 90s with his debut album, I’m Serious. However, many know him best for his 2008 album, Paper Trail, which featured the hit singles “Whatever You Like” and “Live Your Life.”
He has appeared in several movies and T.V. shows over the years, including American Gangster, Ant-Man, and House of Lies. T.I. has also won 16 Grammy Awards and 3 B.E.T. Awards, placing him above some of the biggest names in the music industry.
19. Bill Kaulitz
Bill Kaulitz is a German singer, songwriter, and model who rose to prominence as the lead singer of the rock band Tokio Hotel. The band found success in Europe with their debut album, Schrei.
They achieved mainstream success with their second album, Zimmer 483, which featured the hit singles “Monsoon” and “Ready, Set, Go.” The album was a huge success and propelled the band to international fame.
20. Enrique Iglesias
If we had made this list based on merit, Enrique Iglesias would have been much higher. One of the best Spanish singers ever, Enrique is amongst the best selling Latin artists of all time, with over 100 million records sold worldwide.
He has released 36 studio albums, including Enrique Iglesias and Vivir, and has had numerous hit singles, including “Bailamos,” “Hero,” and “Tonight.”
His acting career is not too shabby either, having starred in movies such as Once Upon a Time in Mexico and America: A Tribute to Heroes.