While plenty of R&B stars have chronicled the desperation of heartbreak, few have explored the darker side of love with the intensity of Canadian party monster The Weeknd. He’s scored massive hits with undeniably smooth dance-pop anthems and luscious slow jams, whether he’s reviving the slick bounce of ‘80s electro-funk on “I Can’t Feel My Face” or flipping the club-ready bump of house music into brooding after-dark soul on “Starboy.” That’s just one side of singer/songwriter Abel Tesfaye’s sound, though. Dropping beats that throb with the sensual menace of classic trip-hop, tracks like “Wicked Games” plunge you into the moment where the ecstasy of a decadent night out teeters on the edge of the regretful morning after. The Weeknd’s glittering club bangers will pull you onto the floor, and his steamy between-the-sheets ballads will seduce you. But it’s his anguished tales of romantic longing that will haunt your head and your heart.
From the moment his game-changing second album, The Slim Shady LP, dropped in 1999, the man born Marshall Mathers became inseparable from Eminem—his hilarious, uncompromising, and ferocious alter-ego. While he’d already established his rep on the battle-rap circuit and the indie hip-hop scene, no one was prepared for Eminem’s rise to the top. His rhymes took listeners into the darkest recesses of his mind, earning him massive critical acclaim and record-breaking sales. These are the classic tracks that established Em as one of the greatest MCs of all time.
Post Malone’s debut single, “White Iverson”, dropped out of nowhere in 2015, quickly going so viral that a follow-up seemed impossible—the artist himself even claimed to be a one-hit wonder. But fate had other ideas, and he was soon collaborating with Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Pharrell, and 21 Savage, with each new single toppling the last for chart positions and platinum statuses. Using elements of hip-hop, pop, rock, and country, the New York-born, Texas-bred artist incorporates acoustic guitars as readily as guest rap verses, creating hyper-on-trend melodic earworms with uncanny hitmaking precision.