Hip hop became a major genre of popular music in the 21st century, with hip hop singles and albums topping the charts worldwide. Local hip hop scenes developed in many countries and produced successful artists like the UK's Dizzee Rascal and Canada's Drake. Many female rappers also became successful, including Missy Elliott, Lil' Kim, Lauren Hill and Nicki Minaj. Hip hop has had a strong influence on 21st-century pop music, with many pop songs including elements of hip hop. Pop singers and rappers often collaborate to produce tracks with catchy pop choruses and rapped verses like the single See You Again, a collaboration between pop singer Charlie Puth and rapper Wiz Khalifa that topped the charts in 96 countries in 2015.
In the 1990s, most major artists were from New York or Los Angeles, but artists from the South became popular after 2000. They included the duo Outkast who combined Southern-soul grooves and riffs with clever, entertaining raps. Other popular artists from the South include Usher, T.I., Ludacris and B.o.B. from Atlanta, Three 6 Mafia from Memphis, Bun B from Texas, and Lil Wayne from New Orleans. More recently, Southern artists like Future and Young Thug have been creating exciting new styles of alternative hip hop.
Midwestern artists also became popular at this time. Marshall Mathers, better known as Eminem, was surrounded by hip hop culture in the poor Detroit neighbourhood in which he grew up. As a teenager he won local rapping competitions, one of the first white rappers to do so. His natural flow and the honesty and humour of his raps won over the crowds, but because he wasn't a gangsta rapper he couldn't get a record contract. After struggling for many years, he finally got a record deal. Nearly all of his albums have topped the charts worldwide and he's now one of the best-selling artists of all-time.
Another major artist from the Midwest is Chicago's Kanye West. In 2004 he released The College Dropout, the first of a series of chart-topping alternative hip hop albums that helped change the direction of hip hop music. Kanye and Eminem proved that rappers didn't have to make gangsta rap records to succeed, and alternative hip hop soon replaced gangsta rap as the genre's most popular style. While most hip hop artists are either producers or rappers, Kanye is regarded as a master of both. His sample-heavy tracks have used elements of classical music, gospel, jazz and soul as well as rock and R&B, and he uses many rapping styles, from slow and relaxed to fast and aggressive. He's often called the most influential hip hop artist of the 21st century because of his role in changing hip hop's direction and because of the number of styles he's helped to create like the electronic rap of Black Skinhead and the gospel-influenced hip hop of Jesus Walks.