The initial map is this one:
In Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and pretty much the entire East Coast, Jay-Z is the undisputed artist that people listen to. And with good reason- this American rapper, entrepreneur and record producer has been estimated to have a net worth of $500 million US Dollars by Forbes and is one of the most successful American hip-hop artists (17 Grammy awards, 75 million records sold and countless nominations put him at the top of his field). His albums also made it on Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Albums Of all Time” (three of them in particular –The Blueprint, Reasonable Doubt and The Black Album being landmarks of the genre).
2. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The favorite artists for Washington include the above mentioned, but number one is still Macklemore. This hip-hop duo is the go-to inspiration for Americans living in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Maine and New Hampshire for a great number of reasons. They formed back in 2009 in Seattle, where rapper Ben Haggerty and record producer and DJ Ryan Lewis decided they could produce something big- and well, they did. Their first EP, named VS.EP was released in 2009, followed by VS. Redux in 2010. However, their big break was the 2012 Grammy Award winning album “The Heist” which reached number 1 on iTunes and earned these hard working artists a much deserved “Best New Artist” Award.
Being the artist of choice in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana, it seems that rappers are by far the most appreciated artists in the US. Aubrey Drake Graham is Canadian by birth, born in Toronto, and received recognition when he starred as Jimmy Brooks on the TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation. His most successful album to date is “Take Care”, released back in 2011, with hit songs like Headlines, Take Care, The Motto and Make Me proud. His song “The Motto” is actually credited for making the acronym “YOLO” popular. This Grammy Award winner, multiple Juno Award and BET Award winner is worth a listen if you’ve haven’t already heard his songs.
Topping off our rapper list is Eminem, preferred artist in Alaska, North Dakota and West Virginia, the best-selling artist of the 2000s. Declared the King of Hip-Hop by the Rolling Stones magazine, this rapper, producer and song-writer has produced an astonishing 10 number one albums on Billboard 200, has sold well over 120 million singles and 96 million albums all around the world. He is also the first artist to have ever won three consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album (for The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Matters LP and The Eminem Show).
5. Daft Punk
In states where rap has been second to other styles, Daft Punk was the band of choice (states like Oregon, California, Minnesota, and Rhode Island). This electronic music Duo comprised of the two French musicians Guy Manuel De Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter were notorious back in the 1990s when they combined house elements with synthpop to produce a whole new sound. In 2007, their live album “Alive 2007” won them the Grammy Award for Best Electronic/Dance Album and by 2013 they had signed with Columbia, and released the lead single Get Lucky and the album Access Memories which won them five Grammy Awards in 2014.
Other artists were featured in Paul Lamere’s map- Lorde, Imagine Dragons and ALT-J although sparingly. The same Paul Lamere also published a map of the most “distinctive” artists of each state, which differs substantially as you can see.