Rhapsody's 2010 Artist of the Year
Every year Rhapsody names an Artist of the Year, basing the award on musical achievements as well as how deeply the artist(s) penetrated popular culture. The past two years, the award has gone to a pick that felt obvious. In 2008, the nod went to Lil Wayne; in 2009, the distinction belonged to Lady Gaga. This year, however, was a bit more difficult. There was no obvious single artist who captured the zeitgeist, and the two artists who seem to best fit the criteria, Taylor Swift and Kanye West, are inexorably linked to one another (thanks to a memorable outburst at the 2009 VMAs) and most at odds with one another, at least symbolically. They represented different sides of the pop music spectrum. Swift was the ever-affable, ever-lovable sweetheart who made one of the year's most accessible and popular albums. Kanye West, meanwhile, was a supremely polarizing figure who made no excuses for his arrogance, but who was also undoubtedly a musical genius, making one of the most ambitious and satisfying albums in ages. So, yeah, we split that baby. If you want to find out a little more about the thinking that went into this decision, you can check out a conversation about it below. And we also have a lot of great content from both artists, including playlists and reviews of their landmark albums.