When Tim McGraw debuted in the early '90s, few would have predicted that he would eventually take over Garth Brooks' position as the most popular male singer in country music. Yet that's exactly what he did, thanks to a string of multi-platinum albums, a high-profile marriage to fellow superstar Faith Hill, and Brooks' own inevitable decline. His sound epitomized the strain of commercial country that dominated his era: updated honky tonk and Southern-fried country-rock on the uptempo tunes, well-polished, adult contemporary-tinged pop on the ballads. Helped out early in his career by several novelty items, McGraw simply wound up cranking out hookier hits on a more consistent basis than any of his peers. By the late '90s, he was not only a superstar among country fans, but a mainstream celebrity with a large female following.