Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre: The Complete List
The man born Christopher Wallace brought a swagger to hip-hop that other rappers today -- fifteen years after his death -- still can't touch. Considered by many to be the greatest MC ever, Biggie told complex and emotional stories through intricate rhymes that sounded effortless. Never contrived and never soft, he remains beloved by underground and mainstream fans alike. Just as his career was taking off, he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles, the details of which are still disputed. -Chris Walker
16. Bob Marley
Reggae singer-songwriter Bob Marley has become a college-stoner icon, but in his embrace of the Rastafari movement he was as much a fighter as a lover. His political and social calls to action, which urged repatriation to Africa, are as galvanizing today as they were 40 years ago. Though he hailed from Jamaica, he remains perhaps the cultural icon of island countries and the African diaspora around the world.
When asked by Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1983 what her dreams were, a young Madonna replied, "To rule the world." She proceeded to do just that, releasing eleven blockbuster studio albums to date and becoming the world's top-selling female recording artist ever. The mother of reinvention, she has endlessly reworked her image and style, affecting our culture in myriad, rippling ways. Though she's sometimes criticized for following fads in her personal life, when it comes to her music the culture usually mirrors her. -Rebecca Haithcoat