Frank Ocean is taking over the world, but it’s alright
It has been 1,480 days since the release of Channel Orange, but who’s counting. In light of this strange Apple Music live stream on his website, Frank Ocean yet again has hinted to his anticipated album drop. And my emotions have been all over the place. But this really opened up my eyes on what Ocean really means to our culture. He has captivated us all to tune in to a man cutting wood while classical music plays in the background. He has become a phenomenon and revival of modern R&B. And let’s face it, his voice is like a mix of Fergie and Jesus.
I am a Frank Ocean fan. I think it’s clear because I’m writing this, but he is a different artist in his own right. From his signature red & white bandana to his unforgettable melodies, he has gotten our attention. It began before his release of Channel Orange back in July of 2012. He took to Tumblr, which is where he posted avidly on his music or life. The picture seemed to be a text-edit box of some sort. As the words continued, he talked about his first love and his experiences with that person. It was a man. He had not clearly stated his sexuality, but many speculated as a ‘coming out’. It was so beautifully written and executed. This had not ever been done in the music industry. Many believed it was a publicity stunt, but it clearly wasn’t. He wanted to tell his story and he did.
“I guess I’m just inspired to tell stories and you have to make sure the listener is listening to you. If you put it in a form of a song and it is striking enough, then you can really deliver the story effectively.”- Frank Ocean, BBC Sound of 2012.
After this, Channel Orange finally released. I have to say, out of the short 22 or 23 years I’ve been on this planet, this is probably one of my favorite of all time. His voice has so much range and go from high to low in a heartbeat. The songs touched on topics that I haven’t really seen done before. Songs like ‘Lost,’ speaks to the larger picture of traveling and this sense of wanderlust. ‘Thinking About You’ is and was probably the biggest hits that came off the album. He sticks to the roots of classic R&B, while showing the world how good his voice is. He also performed this on Saturday Night Live in October of 2012. Along with ‘Forrest Gump’ which refers to being in love with a man and referring to him as the 1994 character in the hit movie. You could not get ‘Super Rich Kids’ out of your head for the next month or so. He talks on the life of being a rich kid, with no worries but partying and drugs. From beginning to end, Frank Ocean delivered. Every single song was different, but as a whole it was cohesive.
The rest of the world responded well to the member of Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future crew. So well, that his album received five nominations for the 2013 Grammy’s. This is a huge fucking deal. One of them being Album of the Year, which side note totally think he should have won. He ended up winning Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration with Kanye and Jay-Z. After all of this success, Ocean seemed to be at the all-time high of his career so far. He caught the world by storm and the rest of us were ready for another godly album. But it’s kind of hard to top such a solid album.
2013 and 2014 went by, no real signs of him making music. The only thing that going on with Frank was that he was being sued by Chipotle. Yes, Chipotle. Apparently, Ocean was set to help the burrito overlord with an ad. He backed out of the deal and Chipotle sued him for the advance that was given to him beforehand, which amounted to $212,500. He was not happy about this. Ocean went to Twitter, the infamous location for singers and celebrities to raise hell. This picture was posted by Frank on Twitter:
This wasn’t remotely close to any music making signals. Ocean fans were getting anxious. It almost seemed that he had fallen off the planet completely. But then a picture was released and a website to go along with that in late 2014-early 2015. It hinted at July 2015 release of a new album titled ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’ I was jumping around and screaming on the inside when I heard the news. He was finally coming back. But come July 2015, nothing. No sign of anything, just nothing.
Obviously people have been anxiously waiting, so there was some backlash on Twitter. Not necessarily bad things, but a flood of memes took over Twitter as fans continued to rant on the never-dropping album. And the only sign of music from Frank came earlier this year with the release of Kanye’s The Life of Pablo where he is featured on.
As I am typing this, I’m listening to Nostalgia, Ultra., which is my favorite mixtape ever. We are now here, mid 2016 with no real sign of an album coming. The only sign is this mysterious live stream of what seems to be a warehouse of some sort with a lot of wood working tools. I’m sitting here listening for any noise or something, but nothing. Just my hopes increasing by the second of the live stream. We don’t know whether or not if he will drop an album, but we are still here. Our culture has been captivated by this soft spoken and mysterious guy. His voice, music and personality have got us. No matter what, he will still be the future of R&B and hands down, one of my favorite artists of all time.
UPDATE: The wait is finally over (not holding my breath for this), but it has been confirmed that Ocean’s album is set to drop this Friday, August 5 via Apple Music exclusively. I mean, half of me is skeptical but the other part of me really thinks it is time. This has been the most reliable date since ever.