The Greatest Global Music Icons 2021 — 10 Living Legends Who Inspire Billions

Top Global Music Icons of 2021
10 Modern Global Music Icons who changed the face of the Industry:
The Top 10 Global Music Icons of 2021

Pioneering Musical Eras


Nas — Hip Hop's Prophet Magnifique

Nas - Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Nas - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

The world is run on narratives. But narratives are nothing but the marketed term for stories. The better the storyteller, the more people relate. And there lies the power of Nas. Unlike other rappers, Nas is a great storyteller, directly influencing people's imagination. And why not when almost every album of the 'king of street hits' certifies gold or platinum.

For these reasons and many others, Nas is not just admired among the fans, but also other rappers in the industry. In fact, Nas is a top global music icon who is an inspiration for other famous MCs like Lupe Fiasco, J. Cole, and Kendrick Lamar.

Real NameNasir bin Olu Dara Jones
Years Active30
GenreHip Hop
AliasNas Escobar
Nasty Nas
AssociationsThe Firm
Jr. Gong
Mary J. Blige
Olu Dara
Mobb Deep
Salaam Remi
Landmark HitsNY State Of Mind
One Mic
If I Rules The World
Life's A Bitch
I Gave You Power
Queen Gets The Money

Watch: Nas Top 10 Songs

No idea is original, there's nothing new under the sun, its never what you do, but how its done.

Words of wisdom by Nas

How Nas' “Illmatic” Changed Hip-Hop?

The New York rapper created the urban masterpiece “Illmatic” 25 years ago that left an indelible mark on music. However, still fresh, it remains one of the most remixed album covers of all time. When a rapper aspires to greatness, Illmatic is the cover format. He’s that kind of vivid storyteller that when he wants to draw you into his world, you’re in it. It is important to note that Nas’ influence reaches far beyond the music industry.


Tiësto — The Moghul of EDM Land

Dj Tiesto Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Dj Tiesto - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

It's time to talk about another exceptional top global music icon of the music industry- DJ Tiesto, undoubtedly, the greatest DJ for last two decades. The secret to Tiesto's success lies in not letting the dynamic music industry change him. In fact, the man believes in changing himself everytime and says that he produces hits for himself, not for Spotify.

No one knows EDM better than DJ Tiesto. Where the world thinks that EDM is just about hard beats dropping at moments, Tiesto says, "I think EDM stands for electronic dance music, so if suddenly it is not, I don't get it."

From underground clubs to large stadiums throughout different countries in the world, DJ Tiesto is keeping EDM alive by not damaging it in the name of change. So in simple terms, it's like having an artist who is changing the music industry by not changing the soul of what he loves.

DJ TiestoBiography
Real NameTijs Michiel Verwest
Years Active27
AliasTiësto OON
AssociationsKamaya Painters
Armin van Buuren
Steve Aoki
Martin Garrix
Oliver Heldens
John Christian

Watch: Tiesto Tomorrowland - Official Video

Memories will take you back but dreams will take you forward.

Inspirational Quote by DJ Tiesto

How much is DJ Tiesto Worth?

Tiesto would jam at school parties when he was a teenager and then a few years later at a host of clubs in the Netherlands. In 1994, he began to release his own songs, and that’s when his career began to take off. Tiesto now ranks third on the list of the richest DJs in the world with an estimated net worth of $170 million.


Taylor Swift — Country Music's Big Kahuna

Taylor Swift Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Taylor Swift - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

Name another top global music icon whose songs have lingered at the corners of our hearts in the most intimate ways possible. We will wait!

When we say Taylor Swift, there are two things that come in mind. First is back to back never ending hits. Second, the insane fan following relating with Taylor and humming on her her melody during the different phases of life. From life, love, breakups to hookups, Swift is probable the most influential artists in the world. Contrary to how many would describe her as uniform pop artist, we say that Swift's fan following made an entirely different industry and the sensational singer continues to be the undisputed queen of the industry since decades. And with 10 Grammy, it isn't really hard to tell, why!

Taylor SwiftBiography
Real NameTaylor Alison Swift
Years Active17
Landmark HitsTeardrops On My Guitar
Our Song
Love Story
You Belong With Me
Back To December
We Are Never
Bad Blood

Watch: Best of Taylor Swift

People are going to judge you anyway. So you might as well do what you want.

Motivational Quote by Taylor Swift

Why is Taylor Swift Re-Recording Her Old Albums?

Swift has vowed to re-record her first six albums after music manager Scooter Braun announced that his Ithaca Holdings company had acquired Big Machine Label Group, the home to Swift’s first six albums. However, Swift called the deal "my worst-case scenario," alluding to Braun's involvement in a number of feuds between her and artists he has managed, including Kanye West. By re-recording her hits, Swift can reclaim control over her recordings, or at least the new "Taylor's Version" of them.


Revolutionizing Art Forms

Honey Singh — Emperor of Indian Rap

Yo Yo Honey Singh Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Yo Yo Honey Singh - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

Imagine being at the highest peak of stardom where everyone in the entire country is looking up to you, grooving on your songs, and imitating your walk and talk. We truly can't think of any other Indian music artist who has enjoyed fame like Honey Singh did. The man is to be truly credited to make rap the integral part of Bollywood and the fans.

Being the highest paid music artists of Indian music industry for consecutive years during the start of the decade, Honey Singh has gone on to become truly a top global music icon. it was an unshakable superstardom the glory of which still continues. Honey Singh still continues to be the second highest paid music artist of India.

Honey SinghBiography
Real NameHirdesh Singh
Years Active18
AliasYo Yo Honey Singh
AssociationsJazzy B
Diljit Dosanjh
Neha Kakkar
Malkit Singh
Landmark HitsLak 28 Kudi Da
Brown Rang
High Heels
Blue Eyes
Issey Kehte Hain Hip Hop
Billo Tu Agg Ae

Watch: The Best of Honey Singh

If you like me, raise your hand. If you don't like me, raise your standard.

Quote by Yo Yo Honey Singh

Why Honey Singh is regarded as India's greatest rap artist?

Yo Yo Honey Singh is credited with defining hip hop's positioning in India's pop culture. He pioneered a new era Indi-rap and has remained the number one rapper in India for over a decade. Honey Singh inspired several young artists who themselves are now industry veterans.


Lady Gaga — Queen of Contemporary Concerto

Lady Gaga Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Lady Gaga - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

The queen of quirks and eccentricities, Lady Gaga is so important for American Pop Culture music. Gaga literally came from nowhere, took over the world of pop culture, and turned it into an art. Not just her music, Gaga's fashion is also a testimony of how creatively, art can communicate messages to masses. There is no other music artist in the world who has taken a staunch stand for the LGBTQ community like the 'Poker Face' star, both through her talent and her bold sartorial, hair and makeup choices.

The winner of Nine Grammy awards and several VMA awards, along with one BET and one BAFTA, she is a top global music icon. Lady Gaga not only stands out of the crowd, she owns it.

Lady GagaBiography
Real NameStefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Years Active20
Mother Monster
The Germ
Little Mermaid
Sister Swine
AssociationsLady Starlight
Tony Bennett
Bradley Cooper
Justin Timberlake
Lonely Island
Kendrick Lamar
R Kelly
Christina Aguilera
Elton John
Landmark HitsPoker Face
Born This Way
Bad Romance
The Edge Of Glory
Just Dance
Million Reasons

Watch: Lady Gaga sings the US National Anthem at Super Bowl

Fight and push harder for what you believe in you'd be surprised, you are much stronger than you think.

Words of Inspiration by Lady Gaga

How did Lady Gaga get her stage name?

Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, Lady Gaga has become a household name. In an early interview with Oprah Winfrey, Gaga attributed her name's origin to the 1984 Queen song "Radio Ga Ga." She went on to describe how "Gaga" was "just a nickname [her] friends had for [her] in New York and [her producer], and it just kind of stuck." At the time, the artist told Oprah to call her "Gaga," as she thought it "felt weird" when people called her "Lady."


Drake — The Don of Melody Mansion

Drake Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Drake - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

Another rapper on the list and the name that needs no introduction. When an artist picks up record 13 awards a single Billboard Music Awards (2017), it's needless to say that something groundbreaking is taking shape. Drake is the big gun representing the modern men of 21st century who talks about their mistakes and goodness instead of women and drugs. When Drake entered the scenario of American music industry, none of us were used to listening to raps that not only talked different, but also sounded different. To quote NYTimes, "Rappers are singers now. Thanks Drake!". Listening to a renovated and actual version of masculinity along with a some melody for change, sounds like a perfect choice.

With total 275 music awards, four out of which are Grammy and whopping 44 Grammy nominations, we are no one to introduce you to the success of the man himself.

Real NameAubrey Drake Graham
Years Active20
GenreHip Hop
AssociationsLil Wayne
Nicki Minaj
Rick Ross
The Weekend
Landmark HitsHotline Bling
Know Yourself
Best I Ever Had
Started From The Bottom
God's Plan

Watch: Video of Drake's Gods Plan

I was born to make mistakes, not fake perfection.

Words of wisdom by Drake

How did MJ collaborate with Drake?

Michael Jackson has been dead for many years, but last year he featured on a song by Canadian rapper Drake. "Don't Matter to Me" is a song by Canadian musician Drake featuring posthumous vocals from American singer-songwriter Michael Jackson, from Drake's fifth studio album Scorpion (2018).

The wonders of technology never cease, as now Drake and Michael have collaborated, almost 10 years after Michael’s death. Michael’s vocals from the song were taken from a similar time in his life to the music on the album Xscape, from a session with Canadian songwriter Paul Anka.


Kendrick Lamar — Rap's Bard Par Excellence

Kendrick Lamar Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Kendrick Lamar - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

If you can boast of defeating Eminem on his own track, Love Game. if you can make a remake of legend J Cole's 'A Tale of 2 Cities' and the crowd actually says that it's better than the original. Then it's needless to say, music industry will be forever indebted to you.

That's Kendrick Lamar for you! The rapper who made 'taking bold stands and calling names' cool in the hip hop industry. Remember when the infamous 'Control' verse dropped in, challenging 100 rappers directly with names (Drake, J.Cole, Pusha T, and others)? Hip hop has still not recovered from that unforgettable moment.

However, the most admired of all Lamar's traits has to be his strong political stands and calling outs through his music. The best example where the artist proved that he is on top not only to change music industry but world, has to be his work like 'To Pimp a Butterfly' and more. The top global music icon, Kendrick Lamar is also the only rapper to win a Pulitzer.

Kendrick LamarBiography
Real NameKendrick Lamar Duckworth
Years Active17
GenreHip Hop
Jazz Rap
Kung Fu Kenny
AssociationsBlack Hippy
Anna Wise
Dr. Dre
J Cole
Imagine Dragons
Landmark HitsHiiiPoWeR
King Kunta
m.A.A.d city

Watch: Kendrick Lamar accepts the Pulitzer

If I'm gonna tell a real story, I'm gonna start with my name.

Inspiring line by Kendrick Lamar

Did Kendrick Lamar retire, or is he taking a break?

The Grammy-winning rap star, Lamar has been dormant since his last studio album release, 'Damn' in 2017, but according to Top Dawg Entertainment president Punch, fans could be set to hear some new material from him very soon. He was spotted recording a music video in California suspended over the sea on a private beach not long ago.

Breaking Industry Barriers


Nicki Minaj — Hip Hop's Prima Donna

Nicki Minaj Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Nicki Minaj - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

Who knew that the indelible journey from South Jamaica, Queens to the top of the hip hop industry would bring a revolution! Hip hop industry has plenty of rags to riches stories, but Nicki Minaj only goes a notch higher as with her astounding success came a big change in the male-dominated industry. Being a woman of razor-sharp lyrical prowess and flow alone at the upper belt with all the men for the first time ever, was indeed a new dawn that also paved the way for other female artists. 

Queen Minaj has filled the gender void in the American hip hop industry with numerous accolades like 12 BET Awards, six American Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, 4 Billboards, 2 Billboard Women In Music Awards. However, despite being nominated for Grammy 10 times, the revolutionary female rapper hasn't won any but we hope she does soon.

Nicki MinajBiography
Real NameOnika Tanya Maraj-Petty
Years Active17
GenreHip Hop
AliasNicki Lewinski
Nicki The Ninja
Nicki The Harujuku Barbie
AssociationsAriana Grande
Chris Brown
Meek Mill
David Guetta
Lil Wayne
Landmark HitsSuper Bass
Bang Bang

Watch: Best of Nicki Minaj

People will love you and support you when its beneficial.

Pearls of Wisdom by Nicki Minaj

What is Nicki Minaj’s Indian connection?

Born to parents of mixed origins, Minaj is one-quarter Indian. While her father Robert Maraj is of Indo-Trinidadian origins, her mother Carol Maraj is of Afro-Trinidadian descent.

"My real last name is Maraj. My father is half-Indian and makes the best chicken curry in the world," she was quoted as saying on CBS Love show American Idol Season 12 in 2013. She also mentioned how she loves Indian food, culture and Bollywood.


BTS — K-Pop's Barons beyond Borders

BTS Top Global Music Icons of 2021
BTS - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

Something absolutely sensational has emerged from South Korea- the BTS boys! In 2019, BTS became the first ever Korean artists to win two BBMAs back to back. And since then, everyone's favorite Korean boys have been winning multiple Fan Choice awards, thanks to an extremely loyal fan base that they enjoy.

Most importantly, the Korean boy band is talking about significant issues in their songs, from mental health to Korean cultural difference, while also promoting self-love. Looks like the message is clear- music has no geographical boundaries and is definitely more than just singing and rapping.

BTS Boy BandBiography
NationalitySouth Korean
Years Active8
Hip Hop
AliasBangtan Boys
Bangtan Sonyeondan
Beyond the Scene
Bulletproof Boy Scouts
AssociationsSteve Aoki
Landmark HitsMic Drop
Savage Love
Life Goes On
Spring Day
Fake Love

Watch: BTS Mic Drop video

You're too young to let the world break you.

Motivational Quote by BTS

Why does BTS call Fans their A.R.M.Y.?

BTS’ fan base is considered one of the most devoted in all of popular music. The band members themselves coined the phrase “BTS A.R.M.Y” to refer to their followers.

The name stands for “Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth,” another reference to the military symbology that the group favors. Many members have taken the name literally, and believe that the fanbase is like one big family, with BTS leading the way. The fandom name basically means that fans will always be together with BTS.


Cardi B — Czaritsa of Gangsta Garden

Cardi B Top Global Music Icons of 2021
Cardi B - Top Global Music Icons of 2021

An exceptional journey from being a stripper to number one rapper on chart, Cardi B's musical journey has been one hell of an inspirational journey. And now, she is inspiring other women throughout the world to work hard for the top spot in the hip hop industry usually booked by men. The unconventional and fabulous success of Cardi B is making spot for more bold female voices in the industry. In 2017, B also made history by becoming the first female rapper to earn #1 single on Billboard's Hot 100 chart without any featured artist. Undoubtedly, the top global music icon is definitely a call for every woman who dream of rising to the top from the ghettos.

Cardi BBiography
Real NameBelcalis Marlenis Almánzar
Years Active7
GenreHip Hop
AssociationsBruno Mars
J Balvin
Josh X
Adam Levine
Landmark HitsWAP
I Like It
Bodak Yellow
Please Me
La Bebe
Be Careful

Watch: Best Moments of Cardi B

I'm the rose that came from the concrete.

Famous quote by Cardi B

What does Cardi B's name mean?

The Bronx native, whose birth name is Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, said the name "Cardi B" was inspired by the liquor brand Bacardi. "You know what, my sister's name is Hennessy, so everybody used to call me Bacardi," Cardi B said. "Then it was my Instagram name, Bacardi, Bacardi B. But for some reason, my Instagram kept getting deleted, and you know what, I think it was Bacardi that had something to do with it. So I just shortened it to Cardi B," she revealed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Arudhi Verma

Arudhi writes on Politics, Economy and Latest news. A commerce and psychology graduate with a soft corner for classic novels, nothing spells 'love' like art and coffee for her. When not writing/reading poetries, she can be found dancing alone in her room with loud music or painting by her window. She has played professional roles as Writer, Editor and Assistant Director in past and doesn't hesitate from trying new boxes every now and then.

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