There are those who DO… and those who DO IT THEIR WAY.  Throughout the history of music there has always been that handful of courageous Inventors who dance, sing and play music to the beat of their own drummer.  And thank God for them!  Something inside them… their GIFT… takes them beyond the duldroms and sameness of the music of their day and they bless us with the gift of Freshness, Excitement, Innovation and Sensation.  This is Part 2 of the article we presented last month… and I’m sure we will still leave some of your favorites off the list but we wanted to share with you a few more of these Super Creative Artists.  These small few Masters of Music DARED TO BE DIFFERENT… and we’re all the better for it.

Todd Thomas aka Speech and Arrested Development came with an eclectic Afro-Centric/Hip-Hop style and for a brief time, they were a force to be reckoned with.  Their celebrity was short-lived but they surely contributed to the validity of Hip-Hop as a musical art form.  Check out Arrested Development performing, “Tennessee.”

posted by trendski

Digable Planets’ song, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)” sampled numerous songs but the predominant theme was borrowed from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers’ song, “Stretching,” from 1978.  Sampling such a traditionally Jazz track for a Rap song was DARING TO BE DIFFERENT.  The Rap trio broke up after a couple of years (getting back together later) and their meteoric splash was over but not to be forgotten.  Even if you didn’t like Rap, you had to like, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).”   This song will never be forgotten.

posted by DaRkSoULiiichinoiii

Her unique look, her Non-Commercial song and her super exciting and fun Video put Janelle Monae on this list of performers who DARED TO BE DIFFERENT.  The constantly moving Video really stands out amongst Ho-Hum videos and Jannelle’s James Brown-esque dancing makes this song by her quite memorable.  Here’s Janelle Monae and “Tightrope.”

posted by janellemonae

This group has been performing since the mid 60’s.  They DARED to be and remain an a cappella singing group, doing their thing without the benefit of music accompaniment.  I’d say that’s DIFFERENT for a commercially viable group.  They made a big splash with their third, fourth and fifth albums between ’71 and ’73.  Here’s a song that received some airplay and became a fan favorite back in ’71… this is “Buffalo Soldier” by the Persuasions.

posted by ukvibeorg

Cyndi Lauper was always DIFFERENT with her Funky/Punky look and her uncanny singing ability.  When Cyndi first came out, you look at her quirky wardrobe and think she couldn’t really sing but you’d have been dead wrong.  We all soon learned that this “Girl who just wanted to have fun” was the real deal… she just DARED TO BE DIFFERENT.  Check out Cyndi Lauper singing, “Time After Time.”

posted by lindo803

The Fugees (short for “Refugee”) put out 2 albums in ’94 and ’96 and they unceremoniously broke up in ’97.  Most of their success is due to the many HITS from their 6 times platinum second album, The ScoreWyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel went on to have solo careers but for a fleeting moment they were the Kings and Queen of Hip-Hop.  Their sound and presentation is what made them stand out above the crowded Rap fieldPolitical statements made with their music, a lead singer who can really sing and the kind of music they made was like nobody else’s at the time.  The Fugees DARED TO BE DIFFERENT from ’94 to ’97 and really made a lasting mark on the music world.  Dig up on “Fugee La/Ready Or Not/If I Ruled The World” medley of their HITS.

posted by TheVisiting

Headed up by the Troutman Brothers, Roger, Larry, Terry and Lester, Zapp was one of the funkiest groups out since bursting onto the scene with “More Bounce To The Ounce” in 1980.  Zapp was clearly all about the Funky dance track but they were absolutely identified by Roger Troutman’s singing with the aid of his Keyboard TALK BOX that electronically altered his voice.  Roger’s TALK BOX vocals became Zapp’s signature.  This made Zapp DIFFERENT from all other acts and served them well until Roger Troutman was shot to death by his own brother and Business Manager, Larry TroutmanLarry then turned the gun on himself and ended his own life as well.  What a tragedy!  But let’s celebrate the fact that Roger and Zapp DARED TO BE DIFFERENT with this song for example, this is “So Ruff So Tuff.”

posted by gfworks

The Last Poets were some of the originators of Rap, along with Gil Scott-Heron.  Their spoken word brand of recordings and their ultra politically charged lyrics that spoke of the injustices of a country that was not willingly sharing the American Dream with people of color, qualifies them as extremely DIFFERENT.  For a fleeting moment, these Political Poets became commercially viable in the 70’s.  I couldn’t find any Video Performances from their early recordings but I did scare up a guest spot on Russell Simmons’ cable show, DEF POETRY.  This is vintage Last Poets, years after their brush with fame but still as potent as ever.

posted by SpokenPoetryTV

Raul Midon and his twin brother were born prematurely and placed in incubators without proper eye protection.  That’s how they were blindedRaul grew up to become a singer with a very unique style.  WIKIPEDIA describes it like this:  “He combines his distinct voice, strumming, beats, and vocal mouth trumpet sounds to create a one-man performance.”  Midon plays solo guitar, playing the rhythm and chording the melody all at the same time.  His music is a mixture of Soul, Jazz and Flamenco music.  In 2005, Raul released the hugely popular, “If You’re Gonna Leave.”  This song exemplifies his uniqueness.  Sure, he could have chosen to do this song with full accompaniment but he DARED TO BE DIFFERENT and chose to perform this piece with his voice and his guitar.  Enjoy.

posted by AtskeAtske

Another significant Rap group that fits this bill is Black Sheep… you know, the ones who recorded the CLASSIC, “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited).”  You may know it by the dominant Hook Phrase that runs throughout the song, “You can get with this or you can get with that…”  Nowadays, the song promotes giant car-driving Gerbils in the Kia Soul TV commercials… “Doo Dah Dippity!”  But for a moment in time, this song which promotes Good over the Evils of drugs, racism and other societal ills, was DIFFERENT as they come.  They too sampled a straight up Jazz tune… the Standup Bassline from McCoy Tyner’s “Impressions.”  They too created a song that Rap fans and Rap haters had to bob their heads to.  Besides, who could ever forget that incredible Bassline and the Hook Phrase.  They only made 3 albums as a group but with the message, style of music and the way Andres “Dres” Titus delivered the Rap on this 1991 CLASSIC, “The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)” shows us how Black Sheep… DARED TO BE DIFFERENT.

posted by BlackSheepVEVO

 Raphael Saadiq, in all his forms as a solo artist, with Tony! Toni! Tone! or Lucy Pearl… this dude has always danced to the beat of his own internal drummer and we, the music loving public, have been the beneficiaries of his courageousness.  His songs have always had a flavor that ranged from Nostalgic to down-right Retro.  Sure, his music is R&B but throw-back R&B; that’s actually quite refreshing.  I’ll leave you with this Music Video clip of Raphael Saadiq and his short-lived group, Lucy Pearl, doing “Dance Tonight.”  I hope you enjoyed this second list of artists who DARED TO BE DIFFERENT in NO SKIPS NO SCRATCHES.  Peace!

posted by gehricba