Let the music lover and middle school kid in me rejoice! It took 10 years, some mixtapes, and legal battles, but JoJo finally returns with her third studio album, Mad Love. The singer redefines new-age pop in an official comeback with a sultry 15-track album that features collaborations with Wiz Khalifa, Alessia Cara, and Remy Ma.
On this date (October 17) 10 years ago JoJo’s sophomore album The High Road was released. In celebration of the anniversary as well as the weekend release of Mad Love, here are the top 10 things that have happened in the music world in the last 10 years.
1. After the 2006 release of her third album Back to Basics, Christina Aguilera took to the 49th Grammy Awards (2007) stage to celebrate the life of the late James Brown in an electrifying tribute. Donned in a white pant suit, Aguilera gave a rendition of It’s A Man’s Man's Man's World that shook the entire audience. The performance made headlines and was greeted with a full standing ovation.
2. In 2008, history was made as our nation elected the first African-American president, Barack Hussein Obama. In celebration of this feat, Young Jeezy dropped the fire track “My President” off his LP The Recession with some help from Nas. The banger became a celebratory anthem of the streets as we all recited the lyrics “My president is black, my Lambo's blue / And I be goddamn if my rims ain't too!”
3. 2009 brought us the mixtape by a Canadian rapper some knew as Aubrey Graham but the world would soon know as Drake. So Far Gone was released by Drake under his OVO label and launched him into the international sensation he would become. With tracks “Best I Ever Had” and “Successful”, the tape created Billboard-charting singles and a newfound fame for Toronto’s very own hip-hop star.
4. Besides my esteemed high school graduation, 2010 brought us the LOUD banger (pun intended) that is the fifth studio album of Robyn Rihanna Fenty. LOUD gave the world the up-tempo and dance-pop tracks that rotated the radio circuit like crazy! "Only Girl (In the World)," "What's My Name?" and "S&M" were the three singles that charted #1 among the popular singles “Raining Men,” “Man Down,” “California King Bed,” and “Cheers (Drink to That)” that took over the pop waves.
5. The most anticipated collaborative album in music history since Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s Black Starr was released in 2011. Yes, those Ni---as in Paris shook the industry with the release of Watch the Throne. Beyond breaking digital sales records, the album was recorded at different times over three different countries in five-star hotels and with production from some of the biggest names in music. The world suffered from FOMO witnessing the hysterical fun in the “Otis” music video that summer, and Jay Z and Kanye West gave the world their best collaborative work to date.
6. Released in the U.S in 2012, Gotye put the entire world in its feels with the hit single “Somebody That I Used to Know” featuring Kimbra. The song became a sensation and a constant spinner in pop radio. There was nowhere you could go to escape the funky, sad pop single about past relationships. Shout-out to all the exes out there who have simply become someone we used to know.
7. Surprise! At the back end of 2013, December 13th to be exact, Beyoncé dropped a self-titled visual album exclusively on iTunes. It came with no announcement or promotion and still managed to debut at #1 on the Billboard charts. Beyoncé showed a side of Bey the world hadn’t quite seen or heard yet, which exuded feminism, sexuality, and love, and the surprise release officially changed the music game.
8. The catchy, cute country singer was no more after 2014. Embarking on a new pop music journey, Taylor Swift took 2014 by storm with the release of 1989. Kicking off her announcement of a pop only album, moving to New York, and cueing up her massive world tour backed by her “girl squad,” T.Swift became the world’s most popular artist. Her visuals to tracks like “Blank Space” and “Shake If Off’ garnered over a billion views each, and “Bad Blood” caused quite the ruckus with the famous friends who appeared in the Kendrick Lamar-assisted music video.
9. Speaking of the TDE lyricist, 2015 gave us the poetic, jazz-infused, funk, soul, rap, and hip-hop masterpiece that is Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. An impeccable body of work, the third album by K.Dot masterfully used the themes of black culture, black history, and the black experience in America to touch on important topics including racial inequality, discrimination, love, and the black diaspora. The album not only went on to go platinum but it also won the esteemed Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 58th Grammy Awards.
10. 2016 isn’t over but has so far been one of the best years in music of the 2010s. The highlights: Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo, Rihanna’s ANTI, and Frank Ocean's Blonde. But as of today’s date, 2016 also brought back our beloved former child star vocal powerhouse, JoJo.