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10 Moments From The 2022 Latin GRAMMY Awards: Rosalía's Big Wins, A 95-Year-Old Best New Artist & Christina Aguilera Goes Ranchera
Soulful, sensuous and visually stunning performances from Marco Antonio Solís, Ángela Aguilar, Anitta and others prove the vibrancy and multifaceted nature of Latin music.
There’s still hope in these uncertain times of ours when a nonagenarian singer of sweet boleros can win a Latin GRAMMY in the Best New Artist category.
The 23rd edition of the awards not only gave audiences hope, but thrilled with a sprawling, vibrant banquet of sounds, colors and textures from more than 30 countries. The star-studded show demonstrated — one soulful, visually stunning performance at a time — that Latin music is not a single, monolithic genre.
From anthemic Mexican rancheras to bouncy reggaetón riddims and stark confessional ballads, these are the highlights of a ceremony that gave us many moments to cherish.
The Spirit of Salsa Lives On
At a time when salsa is often remembered as a beloved artifact from decades past, Marc Anthony deserves accolades for remaining true to the genre that made him a tropical icon during the ‘90s.
Backed by a seasoned orchestra led by keyboardist and producer Sergio George, Anthony performed a feverish reading of "Mala" — off his 2022 album Pa’llá Voy — heavy on the trombone riffs and byzantine piano tumbaos. "I’d rather sing than talk," the 54 year-old quipped when receiving the Latin GRAMMY for Best Salsa Album. "Mala" was also victorious in the Best Tropical Song category.
Rauw Alejandro Is Here To Stay
In a way, Rauw’s tight, intense performance celebrated his confirmation last year as one of Latin music’s biggest global stars. A medley including bits from "Desesperados" and "Lejos del Cielo," felt both smooth and urgent, and showcased his multiple talents as dancer, songwriter and vocalist.
The finale, a kinetic reading of "Punto 40" — his remake of the classic reggaetón cut by Baby Rasta & Gringo — proved that the Puerto Rican tastemaker has found a creative sweet spot. He is also listed as a contributor on MOTOMAMI, the Album of the Year winner by girlfriend Rosalía.
Christina Habla Español
Accepting her award for Aguilera in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category, Ecuadorian/American diva Christina Aguilera remarked that she had wanted to record another Spanish language album since the release of Mi Reflejo in 2000.
The two-decade wait was definitely worth it, as her voice sounded deliciously gritty on her performance of rousing ranchera "Cuando Me Dé La Gana" with Christian Nodal, whose EP #1 FORAJIDO won the Best Ranchero/Mariachi Album race. Fittingly, their duet concluded with fireworks.
It’s Never Too Late — Seriously
As a rule, ties in award ceremonies leave behind a lukewarm aftertaste. In the case of this year’s Best New Artist, however, the joint victory of 25 year-old Mexican songstress Silvana Estrada and 95-year-old Cuban singer Ángela Álvarez was hands down the most emotional moment of the evening.
Both women recorded luminous albums marked by a deep reverence to the folk roots of Latin America. "This is for my dear homeland, Cuba — a place I will never forget," said Álvarez, standing next to her grandson, Los Angeles-based producer Carlos José Álvarez. After receiving an ovation, she left behind some inspiring artistic advice. "Even though life is difficult, I promise that with faith and love, it’s never too late."
An Album For The Ages
Released in March of this year, Rosalía’s MOTOMAMI is a cultural landmark — a conceptual work of limitless imagination and wondrous stylistic plurality. It won awards for Best Album Of The Year, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album.
The Spanish singer’s performance reflected MOTOMAMI’s own opulence. Wearing sunglasses and bright red lipstick, she played the piano and performed an achingly vulnerable "HENTAI," before launching into a gorgeous version of post-modern bachata "LA FAMA." The buoyant "DESPECHÁ," a recent single, found her dancing among the crowd, with a brief pit stop to greet boyfriend Rauw Alejandro.
Moving Urbano Forward
2022 has been a particularly creative year for Karol G. Her ongoing collaboration with fellow Colombian producer Ovy On the Drums expanded the urbano landscape with a cinematic scope.
Her deeply emotional performance functioned as a summary of her recent achievements. It began with a languid quote from "GATÚBELA," then quickly morphed into the familiar strains of mega-hit "PROVENZA," which she performed walking down the aisles of the venue, followed by her dancers. Back onstage, she beamed dancing to the progressive post-reggaetón beat of brand new single "CAIRO," with Ovy playing ominous keyboard patterns.
Past And Present Of A Mexican Legend
A prolific singer/songwriter with a Midas touch for timeless romantic hits, Michoacán native Marco Antonio Solís was honored as the 2022 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year with a special gala held the night before the awards.
Solís performed twice during the ceremony — first as a solo artist with majestic readings of "Si No Te Hubieras Ido" and ranchera-pop "La Venia Bendita," and then a sentimental "La Cárcel" with former group Los Bukis. "You’re not only the pride of Mexico, but of all Latinos," enthused presenter Emilio Estefan Jr. Solís expressed his gratitude and underscored the relevance of younger artists carrying the torch of Latin sounds around the world.
A Brazilian Diva Channels Reggaetón
A native of Rio de Janeiro, Anitta conquered the mainstream on the strength of a cosmopolitan musical palate that embraces reggaetón beats and lush strains of Latin pop. Her performance at the Awards was appropriately electric, beginning with the booty-grinding "Envolver," then segueing into the tribal excesses of "Rave de Favela," her orgiastic collaboration with Major Lazer. Far from relying on musty bossa novas, the Latin GRAMMYs found in Anitta a glimpse of Brazilian futurism.
An Uruguayan Maestro Wins Big
A perennial Latin GRAMMY favorite, Jorge Drexler added seven trophies to his collection, including the coveted Record and Song Of The Year awards.
The veteran troubadour appeared genuinely surprised as the Latin GRAMMYs kept piling up, but anyone who listened to the lovely orchestral arrangements of his album Tinta y Tiempo could have anticipated this moment. A collaboration with Spanish enfant terrible C. Tangana, "Tocarte" is an electro-canción gem, and Drexler performed it with Elvis Costello. "Vamos, Elvis," he exclaimed, just as the British legend launched into a blistering guitar solo. In one of his acceptance speeches, Drexler showed his generosity of spirit by thanking urbano artists for disseminating the beauty of Latin sounds internationally.
The Future Is Now
Having Nicky Jam perform a moody rendition of "El Perdón" — his smash collaboration with Enrique Iglesias — is in itself cause for celebration. But the singer went a step forward and created an indelible moment by inviting four young artists to join him onstage. Xavier Cintrón, Valentina García, Nicolle Horbath and Sergio De Miguel Jorquera are recipients of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation’s Prodigy Scholarships. The pairing of veteran stars with talented new voices was magical.
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Run The World: How Rosalía Became An International Superstar And Production Powerhouse
To commemorate Women's History Month, take a look at Rosalía's colossal career, from her 'Los Ángeles' folk debut to her GRAMMY-winning experimental, flamenco-pop album, 'Motomami.'
Rosalía is the pop star the music industry has craved for so long — an unapologetic, risk-taking visionary who transforms each album release into a deliberate era, slowly immersing her audience deeper into her creative universe. She has become a vanguard for music's next generation of female leaders, paving the way through her commitment to building equality as she once promised in her 2019 Billboard Women in Music speech: "I will never stop till I find and I see the same number of women in the studio."
But before the global sensation came to be, there was Rosalia Tobella, the hopeful musicology student from the suburbs of Barcelona with a passion for flamenco and dream of becoming one of music's biggest disruptors. Her nights spent singing and dancing at flamenco venues eventually landed her in the hands of hitmaker Raül Refree, who manifested her big-city ambitions into reality, co-producing and arranging her critically-acclaimed debut studio album, Los Ángeles.
The flamenco-inspired folk album set the precedent for Rosalía's prosperous musical career after snagging the Spanish singer her very first Latin GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist and producing a slew of live appearances that led to her catching the attention of her label, Columbia Records. Today, Rosalía's flamenco roots continue to paint her discography on award-winning albums El Mal Querer and Motomami.
As a part of GRAMMY.com's ongoing celebration of Women's History Month, we're looking back at Rosalía's monumental career, from Los Àngeles to Motomami, in this installment of Run The World. It's not just Rosalía's artistic genius that makes her story so remarkable, but also her trailblazing achievements and strides to make space for like-minded women.
What distinguishes Rosalía in a saturated market is her consistency. Without coming across as repetitive, Rosalía seamlessly innovates new ways to transform flamenco as she fuses its essence into different genres on each release. This level of brilliance garnered Rosalía praise from Billboard for "changing the sound of today's mainstream music" at the 14th Women in Music event, acknowledging the artist with a Rising Star Award.
Over the past six years, Rosalía has amassed nearly 60 awards in total, most notably her 11 Latin GRAMMY wins. Three years after winning the Latin GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for El Mal Querer in 2019, she took home the award again in 2022 for Motomami — becoming the first woman in Latin GRAMMY history to win the category twice.
In 2020, Rosalía marked her GRAMMY stage debut with a medley performance of "Juro Que'' and her breakthrough single, "Malamente." Earlier that night, she celebrated another groundbreaking achievement as the first all-Spanish-language artist to be recognized in the Best New Artist category, as well as her first GRAMMY win for Best Latin, Rock or Urban Alternative album for El Mal Querer. (She won the category for the second time at this year's GRAMMY Awards for Motomami.)
"It's such an honor to receive this award, but at the same time, what I'm most excited about is that I'll be able to perform a flamenco-inspired performance for all of you," Rosalía said during her 2020 GRAMMY acceptance speech, noting her position as one of the leading voices in sharing flamenco culture with American media. "Thank you for embracing [this] project with so much love."
Above all the accolades remains Rosalía's women-first attitude, taking into account the legacy of women who built the foundation for her empire. "I want to thank women like Lauryn Hill, WondaGurl, Björk, Kate Bush, Ali Tamposi, Nija — all the women in the industry who taught me that it can be done," exclaimed Rosalía during her acceptance speech for Best Urban Fusion/Performance at the 2018 Latin GRAMMYs.
And now, she's leaving her own impact on our future leaders.
In a full-circle moment, Rosalía was honored as the inaugural Producer Of The Year at the 2023 Billboard Women in Music ceremony, presented to her by one of her aforementioned heroes, WondaGurl. "To me, it feels special because this is not usual. I make my own music, I produce my own songs, and I write my own songs. I want to dedicate this award to all the women who are going to be producers," she beamed.
Press play on the video above to revisit the defining moments in Rosalía's revolutionary stardom, and keep checking back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Run The World.
Listen To GRAMMY.com's Women's History Month 2023 Playlist: Swim In The Divine Feminine With These 40 Songs By Rihanna, SZA, Miley Cyrus, BLACKPINK & More
Photos (L-R, clockwise): Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella, Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM, Terry Wyatt/Getty Images
Listen To GRAMMY.com's Women's History Month 2023 Playlist: Swim In The Divine Feminine With These 40 Songs By Rihanna, SZA, Miley Cyrus, BLACKPINK & More
Who run the world? Harness positive energy during Women's History Month with this immersive playlist honoring Beyoncé, Rina Sawayama, Kim Petras, and more female musicians.
In the words of recent GRAMMY winner Lizzo, it's bad b— o'clock. To kick off Women's History Month, GRAMMY.com is celebrating with an extensive playlist spotlighting women's divine musical artistry. Perpetually shaping, reinvigorating, and expanding genres, women's creative passion drives the music industry forward.
This March, get ready to unlock self-love with Miley Cyrus' candid "Flowers," or hit the dancefloor with the rapturous Beyoncé's "I'm That Girl." Whether you're searching for the charisma of Doja Cat's "Woman" or confidence of Rihanna's "B— Better Have My Money," this playlist stuns with diverse songs honoring women's fearlessness and innovation.
Women dominate the music charts throughout the year, but this month, dive into their glorious energy by pressing play on our curated Women's History Month playlist, featuring everyone from Dua Lipa to Missy Elliott to Madonna to Kali Uchis.
Listen below on Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora.
Meet The First-Time GRAMMY Nominee: Anitta On The “Insane” Success Of "Envolver," Representing Brazil & Reshaping Global Pop
After a decade of building a massive career in her home country of Brazil, Anitta took her success to a global level in 2022. The singer discusses her “brand new career” and the Best New Artist nomination that came from it.
Before Anitta released her album Versions of Me last April, she already had four albums in her catalog. But as the title insists, Versions of Me is the project that showed Anitta has many layers to her success — and now, she has a GRAMMY nomination to show for it.
The Brazilian star is nominated for Best New Artist at the 2023 GRAMMYs, which may feel like a long time coming for those who have been a fan since Anitta's self-titled debut album arrived in 2013. After becoming a household name in her native Brazil, and then in Latin America, she finally cracked the U.S. last year with the worldwide hit "Envolver." Ten years in, Anitta almost feels reborn.
"In Brazil I got the recognition before, but internationally, it's amazing because I've just started a brand new career," she tells GRAMMY.com. "I feel really special. I feel like things are happening really fast and I'm really happy about it."
With Versions of Me, Anitta explored and embraced her cross-cultural appeal, even singing in Portuguese, Spanish and English across its 15 tracks. The album opens with "Envolver," which blends reggaeton music with an electronic allure; later, she put a trap music twist on the Brazilian bossa nova classic "The Girl From Ipanema" in "Girl From Rio," a tribute to her hometown of Rio de Janeiro.
Those personal details helped Versions of Me resonate with a global audience, and they were amplified by Anitta's unabashed ability to push pop music to new places. She embedded elements of funk carioca (Brazilian funk music from the favelas of Rio De Janeiro where she grew up) into genre-bending collaborations alongside stars like Cardi B, Khalid, and Saweetie.
Anitta has also become widely acclaimed for her show-stopping performances, from Coachella to the Latin GRAMMY Awards to the viral "Envolver" dance challenge on TikTok. Her charming transparency with her fans helps uplift women, her country of Brazil, and the LGBTQIA+ community (she publicly identified as bisexual in 2018) — in turn helping Anitta become one of Latin pop's most refreshing and boldest artists in recent memory.
Ahead of the 2023 GRAMMYs, Anitta spoke with GRAMMY.com about her first GRAMMY nomination, the viral success of "Envolver," and what's next.
How do you feel about being nominated for Best New Artist?
I feel really special. First of all for the nomination, to be part of the GRAMMYs. That makes me feel like I'm doing a good job. I'm on the right path. But also, I felt really special that I was nominated for the Best New Artist category. I feel happy that people understand that for me it's a whole new world.
Even though I have more than 10 years of a career in Brazil, for me, in these other markets, like singing in English and Spanish, it's brand new stuff. I am a new artist in these other markets. I feel really happy that people can understand that and see it like I do.
You're also representing Portuguese and Spanish music in the Best New Artist category. What does it mean to you to be able to represent those languages within the category?
I feel like it's really important. My country feels very special about it. They've never seen something like that. Last time they saw something like that was like 57 years ago <a href="https://www.grammy.com/artists/astrud-gilberto/16737">when Brazilian artists [Astrud Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim were nominated for Best New Artist], so they're really happy for me to be part of this. To be representing so much for my country, I'm really glad that I can do that.
Your song "Girl From Rio" interpolates one of Jobim and Gilberto's classic songs.
"The Girl From Ipanema"! It's crazy, it's like a cycle. It's amazing!
In your album Versions of Me, you sing in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Why did you decide to record music in those three languages?
Portuguese is my first language, obviously. And then I started to learn English when I was still a kid. I started to learn Spanish after I went to Spain for the first time because one of my songs in Portuguese, "Show Das Poderosas," was playing in Madrid. So I went to Spain to sing for a radio show, and I didn't understand anything that people were telling me, so I decided to start learning Spanish, and I loved it. And I started singing [in that language].
I think it's just part of my personality to enjoy learning languages. When I was a kid, I also learned Italian, so I have songs in Italian. I really enjoy it.
The album cover art features different versions of yourself throughout your career. Why did you decide to bring together those images from your past and present?
I think controversy is good when people talk about a subject, and they can see it's accurate and real, and they can get to know you a little better. I think it's a little fun.
I like being open about the [plastic surgery] procedures I've done. Being open about all the things in my life. I don't like to fake or hide situations. I feel like I would feel stuck in some kind of prison. I feel better if people just get to know me from a 360 point of view.
In the album, you explore genres like pop, R&B, trap, and reggaeton music. What was experience like to work with those different genres?
I wanted to show different types of music that I like singing. Like different versions of myself. I'm fascinated by people's music — the different countries and cultures. I love traveling and getting to know the way people consume music, the way people create music. It's really special when I can travel and get to know a new culture, and sing, and get that feeling running through my blood.
I love playing with the biggest amount of places and rhythms, and everything that I can, because I think that's what it is about, when you can create music that's more than just something fun to listen to. If you can bring cultures and bring people together, I think it's even more of a special thing.
How did the song "Envolver" come together?
The [COVID-19 pandemic] quarantine was over, but still the gates were closed to Brazil from America. To go to America, you had to quarantine for 15 days somewhere. I was in Punta Cana waiting for these 15 days to pass, and I decided to bring some friends of mine — artists to write songs with. It was Phantom and Lenny Tavárez. We started writing, [and when] we got to "Envolver," it was really special. We wrote it so fast. It was insane. It was amazing.
What was the inspiration behind that song?
We wanted to talk about a woman that is always in control and not the opposite. In songs, we always see guys talking like that to women, and I wanted to bring exactly the opposite — when a woman is in power.
Did you think that "Envolver" would become the massive hit that it was?
We did think that — but we also think that about so many songs, so it's like, we never know. It was insanely big. I think it wouldn't have been that big if I didn't have the support of the foundation of my country, and also if I [hadn't] done so much work in the Latin community. It got big because we were already doing a lot of stuff.
You've become known for your electric live performances. How important is it to express your music through dancing as well?
Even more right now, with TikTok and things like that, I think people are so engaged to dancing. They want to feel involved somewhere, so that's one way of how people are getting into music right now. Getting involved with the artists in some way more than just the music. I think dance is a very good way of doing that.
You incorporate elements of Brazilian funk music throughout Versions of Me. How important was it for you to bring that genre into some of the songs?
I put in a little bit. Not as much as I wanted to. I think in the next albums I will do more. I'm trying to introduce a little bit of [Brazilian] funk to the worldwide audience, and then I will [release] something really cultural that I really believe in.
Since I started traveling around the world, I'm fascinated about showing people where I come from, my origins. I think funk is my origin. It's so different, and it has the power to be the next big thing, so I feel really special about it. I feel like people are starting to get into funk and making more Brazilian funk music, and I really love that I'm part of this change.
You announced that your next album will be a Brazilian funk album. How is that coming along?
I'm still waiting. I'm working on the album. I have most of the songs kind of ready. I'm still adjusting some things and the features on it. But I'm going to wait for the best time to release it. I'm not going to do it in a rush.
I'm going to put effort behind it because this is the thing I always dreamed about doing. I always dreamed about having an album where I can truly feel my culture and what I really love about funk and Brazilian music. I think I'm going to wait for everything to be completely perfect for me to release it.
Throughout your career, you've proudly represented the LGBTQIA+ community, collaborating with artists like Brazilian drag pop stars Pabllo Vittar and Gloria Groove and being open about your own sexuality. How do you feel to be helping raise that representation and visibility?
I think it's amazing the more we can [do that], because it's still very hard for the LGBTQIA+ community to show up and to get a space to talk and be open without prejudice. The more that we can open room for artists who are openly gay, or trans, or drag queens — I think the scene needs more representation, more artists. The more I can do to bring people to me, or bring visibility to new artists like that, I will do it. It's really important.
Coming off of such a huge year in 2022, what can fans expect from you this year?
I'm going to rest a little bit. I thought I was going to do that last year, but with everything that happened with "Envolver," I ended up not resting the way I wanted to, so for sure this year, I'm going to take more time for myself.
2023 GRAMMYs Performers Announced: Bad Bunny, Lizzo, Sam Smith, Steve Lacy, Mary J. Blige & More Confirmed
Photo: (L-R) Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy, Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Live Nation, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic, Courtesy of Christina Aguilera, Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
2022 In Review: 8 Trends That Defined Pop Music
Pop music continued to showcase its versatility this year, with newcomers and legendary mainstays alike shaking up the industry — which has led to major hits and even bigger cultural moments.
If there's one word to describe this year in pop, it would be "unpredictable." Take fan favorites Beyoncé and Rihanna for starters: as fans began pondering when they'd hear new music again, both superstars made significant returns to their solo artistries, further elevating their statuses as elite pop divas.
Pop's unexpected nature is what makes it so beloved, especially in 2022 as artists showcased just how far their versatility can stretch. TikTok showed off its influence once again, with songs like Nicki Minaj's "Super Freaky Girl" birthing endless viral dance challenges. There was plenty of dancing outside of TikTok as well, as artists like Drake, The Weeknd and Beyoncé had everyone grooving under the disco ball.
From pop stars unleashing their naughty sides to singles that transported us back to the '2000s and beyond, there were several major moments in pop music this year. Dive into eight of the genre's most dominant trends below.
Y2K Pop Divas Made Comebacks
Throughout 2022, the influence of late '90s and early '00s culture was reflected on fashion runways, TikTok and even a multitude of television reboots. So it was only natural that it also seeped into the music realm, with some of the era's biggest pop stars having a refreshing revival.
More than two decades after the release of her debut Spanish-language album Mi Reflejo, Christina Aguilera returned to her Latina roots (Aguilera's estranged father is an Ecuador native). The long wait was worth it, with the star sounding more confident than ever before as she celebrated her rich heritage. After starting this new era with the female empowerment anthem "Pa Mis Muchachas" (alongside fellow Latina artists Becky G, Nicki Nicole and Nathy Peluso), Aguilera continued to flex her versatility and vulnerability with songs like the impassioned Mexican ranchera "La Reina" and the somber "No Es Que Te Extrañe" that found the artist healing her childhood trauma.
Y2K pop sweetheart Mandy Moore, who returned after an 11-year music hiatus with 2020's Silver Landings, kept the momentum going with her seventh album In Real Life. The folk-inspired record showcased Moore's strength as a songwriter and new motherhood.
But arguably the most unexpected return came from Britney Spears. Following the official termination of her conservatorship last November, the pop star freed herself from a decade of restrictions. Spears found her way back to the studio for the first time since the release of 2016's Glory album, and joined fellow pop legend — and longtime supporter — Elton John for "Hold Me Closer." The song draws elements from John's classics like 1971's "Tiny Dancer," 1976's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" and 1992's "The One," but adds a modern twist with shimmering dance melodies. "Hold Me Closer" debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, proving that Spears can still score a hit with ease.
R&B Artists Danced Under The Disco Ball
Pop has seen a disco revival seeping in over the last few years (even including the return of ABBA!), but what made this year so different is witnessing more R&B-leaning artists putting a fun spin on dance music as a whole.
Leading the charge was Beyoncé, who ignited a full-on dance party with her latest album (and first since 2016's Lemonade). After trying her hand at Afrobeats with 2019's soundtrack album, The Lion King: The Gift, Queen Bey transformed into Queen of the Dance Floor with 16 hip-shaking tunes whose influence call back to Studio 54 and Black ballroom heydays. The album is not only a tribute to her late Uncle Johnny (who she credits for introducing her to house music), but Black queer culture as a whole.
Nearly two years after 2020's After Hours, The Weeknd aptly kept the club open until sunrise with his fifth album, Dawn FM. Jam-packed with '80s elements from new wave to synth-pop, the record is an energetic joyride kookily narrated by comedian Jim Carrey.
While he's widely known as a rap superstar, Drake channels his R&B crooning alter-ego from time to time. His seventh album, Honestly, Nevermind, arrived as a surprise in June — and he was clearly ready to kick off summer with a party. The album found the artist at the center of the dance floor as he explored house music with bouncy songs like "Sticky" and "Massive." The experimentation paid off: the album became Drake's 11th Billboard 200 chart-topper.
Throwback Samples Were Inescapable
While sampling is more of a historical music staple than a trend, this year many artists had fun traveling back to the '70s, '90s and early '00s to add nostalgic doses into their hits. Beyoncé evoked the spirit of Donna Summer on "Summer Renaissance," which pulls from the disco queen's 1977 jam, "I Feel Love." Elsewhere, Charli XCX lifted the Stonebridge Mix of Robin S.'s 1992 "Show Me Love" for her own dance floor hit, "Used To Know Me," while NYC-based EDM duo Sofi Tukker sampled Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner" for their infectious tune "Summer In New York."
Throwbacks were perhaps most predominant within mainstream rap hits. Tyga's "Sunshine," a collaboration with Jhené Aiko and the late Pop Smoke, samples Lil Flip's 2004 hit of the same name, while Jack Harlow used Fergie's 2006 No. 1 smash "Glamorous" to create his own hit. Rap newcomers Armani White and Central Cee also traveled to the early '00s, with the former's N.O.R.E. sample heard throughout his debut single, "Billie Eilish" and the latter using Eve and Gwen Stefani's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind" for "Doja."
Nicki Minaj and Yung Gravy took us back to the '80s, as Minaj flipped Rick James' 1981 single "Super Freak" into "Super Freaky Girl, and Yung Gravy's viral "Betty (Get Money)" was based on Rick Astley's 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up."
Artists Tapped Into Their Edgy Sides
Pop music can surely be wholesome, so it's always fun when artists try their hands at edgier sounds. Sam Smith has long proven they can do more than a heartfelt ballad, and their TikTok anthem with Slut Pop star Kim Petras found the pair at their naughtiest.
Dove Cameron shed her Disney Channel beginnings with February's "Boyfriend" single, which celebrated her queer identity with dark, spine-tingling production. She raised the intensity levels with August's "Breakfast," which flipped gender politics on its head.
Maggie Lindemann also traded pure pop for pop-punk for her debut album, Suckerpunch. Continuing the Gen Z angst that rattled 2021, Lindemann unapologetically rebels against the music she was previously associated with thanks to singles like the nostalgic "Cages" and the incredibly flirtatious "She Knows It."
Even Taylor Swift got in on the fun. The singer, who previously showcased her edgy side with 2017's reputation, further leaned into that style with her hazy tenth album, Midnights. A complete left turn from 2020's folk-inspired LPs, folklore and evermore, Midnights captured the restlessness, revenge fantasies, self-criticism, and curiosity that come with what she detailed as "13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life."
Black Pop Divas Made Long-Awaited Returns
After Rihanna and Beyoncé officiated their pop icon statuses with 2015's Anti and 2016's Lemonade, respectively, the two opted to take mini hiatuses from solo music. Beyoncé steadily remained in the music sphere, hopping on several collaborations including a remix of Megan Thee Stallion's 2021 hit "Savage." The song scored GRAMMY Awards for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, the latter of which helped crown Beyoncé as the artist with the most wins in GRAMMY history with 28. (She followed up the achievement by recording "Be Alive" for the King Richard soundtrack, which earned Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song.)
But Beyoncé focused the spotlight back on herself with her seventh studio album. The July release was a pop culture phenomenon, weaving itself into casual conversations, memes, TikTok dance challenges and more. The album is a celebration of not only Beyoncé's career, but Black influence on dance music as a whole.
Rihanna was more quiet following Anti — only appearing on a few collaborations here and there, including Calvin Harris' "This Is What You Came For," DJ Khaled's "Wild Thoughts" with Bryson Tiller and Kendrick Lamar's GRAMMY-winning "Loyalty" — to focus on building her Fenty beauty and lingerie empire. But fans never stopped craving new music from the star herself, and their prayers were finally answered in September in major fashion: The superstar announced in September that she'll headline the Super Bowl LVII halftime show, which will mark her first live showing in over five years.
Rihanna quickly kept the excitement going with two appearances on October's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, "Lift Me Up" and "Born Again" — her first solo music in more than six years.
Rap's TikTok Takeover Was Still In Effect
Rap was one of the biggest genres on TikTok last year, and the trend remained strong in 2022. The dominance was seen through dance challenges and viral memes, with Lil Uzi Vert's infectious Jersey club smash "I Just Wanna Rock" creating an explosive wave that culminated in a dance-heavy music video.
Drake and 21 Savage's "Rich Flex," a highlight from their collaboration album, Her Loss, was transformed into a silly tongue-in-cheek meme. Brooklyn rap newcomer Lola Brooke had TikTokers feeling confident as ever as they used "Don't Play With It" to soundtrack their selfie videos. Even Lil Wayne and Soulja Boy's nostalgic jams had a resurgence, with 2008's "Lollipop" and 2018's "Pretty Boy Swag" spawning their own TikTok trends.
Ed Sheeran Was Pop's Big Brother
Despite being one of the biggest pop stars in the world, Ed Sheeran has maintained the humble spirit that made him so beloved. The British singer/songwriter has always shown a love for collaboration, even releasing a guest-filled project in 2019. But in 2022, Sheeran put collaborations into overdrive.
Sheeran kicked things off by teaming up with his old pal Taylor Swift on a duet version of his = track, "The Joker and the Queen." In March, he dropped not one but two singles with Colombian star J Balvin, "Sigue" and "Forever My Love," where Sheeran traded his guitar for a reggaeton bassline.
The singer then traveled across genres — and the globe — pairing with Jamaican dancehall singer Ishawna (who previously sampled 2017's "Shape of You" on her single "Equal Rights") for "Brace It" and guesting on Nigerian hitmaker Burna Boy's love song "For My Hand." Not forgetting his own roots, Sheeran also showcased his admiration for local British hip-hop with appearances on Manchester rapper Aitch's "My G" and rap collective D-Block Europe's "Lonely Lovers."
Bands Proved Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay
"Rock 'n' roll is dead" has been an ongoing debate ever since hip-hop became the industry's most dominant genre in 2017. Even so, rock acts continued to spotlight the historic genre this year, and helped it endure in arguably the biggest way it has in years.
After a five-year hiatus, Paramore thrilled fans with the announcement of their sixth album, This Is Why. Set for a February 2023 release, the new album era kicked off with the funky eponymous lead single in September.
Rock mainstays Red Hot Chili Peppers satiated genre diehards by dropping two albums within six months in 2022: April's Unlimited Love and October's Return of the Dream Canteen.
On the more alternative side, Arctic Monkeys re-emerged with a vintage focus for October's The Car, which drew from baroque pop, funk, early '70s rock and classic film scores. And after a brief pandemic-induced postponement following 2020's Notes on a Conditional Form, The 1975 returned with their fifth album, Being Funny in a Foreign Language. Singles like "Part of the Band," "Happiness" and "I'm in Love with You" found the band in a lighthearted, '80s dance-pop-inspired spirit.
After a year filled with viral moments and comebacks, there's no doubt that artists will continue to keep pop unpredictable in 2023.
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