If the music business was high school, this group of artists would be the clique of cool kids everyone wanted to hang out with. Their unique styles, both in the booth and on the red carpet, make them stand out from the crowd.
In 2012, Frank changed the game with his Channel Orange album. Exploring themes like religion and his own bisexuality, he ventured to where no R&B artist had gone before. And his hard work paid off. He was nominated for a Grammy that year (remember when he whistled during his performance?) and was featured in songs by artists like Kanye West and Beyonce. So after a quiet three years, it's no wonder that we're craving another album from him. His new album—Boys Don't Cry, due out in July—can't come soon enough.
She's the queen of not caring what people think about her. She has never felt pressured to follow in her big sis's footsteps, giving her the freedom to create the bubbly tunes that give us life for days.
The triple threat (rapper, actor and comedian) excels at all of his crafts, but it was his eclectic verses that first grabbed our attention seven years ago. It takes a very talented individual to blend elements of rock music into a rap, but Childish, whose real name is Donald Glover, does just that.
You didn't think we'd forget Kanye, did you? He might be mainstream, but he's still mighty. His most impressive feat? Inventing "rap ranting"—you know, rapping about all the wrongs in the world over a hot beat. Never change, Kanye. Never change.
Andre has always made it a point to embrace his African roots, and he has used his platform as a public figure for good (he's constantly urging young people to register to vote!). More than 20 years after breaking into the industry, he has maintained his signature style, his throaty voice and his progressive lyrics. Plus, his hats and bowties are always on point.
The 29-year-old singer has flawlessly branded herself (seriously, we wish we could rock the menswear look like she does), and she's guaranteed to keep you on your toes. Just when you think you know her, she goes and drops a song like "Yoga": unexpected and brilliant.
We don't know if a hip-hop artist has ever given as many feels as Drake does. He has earned the respect of some of the hottest in the industry, but he's not afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeve. And we love him for that.
Common is like the People's Rapper. He has turned into an expert at bringing social injustices to light (he just won an Oscar for it!), and he hasn't let his fame change that. Instead of hopping on the mainstream's bandwagon, people have hopped onto his.
The fairy godmother of keeping it real, Erykah Badu is one of the earliest examples of avant-garde music from the soul.
You gotta listen to: "On & On" (if you haven't already)
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The British singer-songwriter has made a niche for himself after hitting it big on "Alone Together" with Marsha Ambrosius. Always rocking his curly mohawk, Daley never strays far from his signature mellow sound, but he can hold his own in the music world.