Frank Ocean: Blonded King

A Word from Frank

In art, at a certain level, there is no ‘better than.’ It’s just about trying to operate for yourself on the most supreme level, artistically, that you can and hoping that people get it. Trusting that, just because of the way people are built and how interconnected we are, greatness will translate and symmetry will be recognized.” ~ Frank Ocean

Thesis Statement

In this Artist paper I will discuss the evolving artist, Frank Ocean. Since the very beginning of his career Frank Ocean has been an icon and an image that has left millions of ears Starstruck. Although his work isn’t extensive, he has still left a mark on the world and especially within generation Z with his courage to be unapologetically him and his raw unmatched talent. 

Overview & Background

Christopher Edwin Breaux who we all know as Frank Ocean was born October 28, 1987 in Long Beach, CA. In his early years he and his family moved to New Orleans, which is where he spent the majority of his early life. This is where his love more music originated. From experiencing the beauty of Jazz music and also being influenced by the R&B music his mother would listen to. When he reached his high school years he started his career with just casually recording music from time to time in various recording studios. After graduating from high school in 2005 he attended the University of New Orleans. But during August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit his hometown. This tragedy led him to pick up the pen and take his music career much more seriously. He then moved to Los Angeles to record his music but only imagined he would stay for a small amount of time. Instead, he decided to remain in LA longer to network more with those in the music industry. Through all the hard work and long nights, he eventually signed as a songwriter and began working with different producers. He worked on projects like Justin Bieber’s “Bigger” in 2008 and Beyonce’s “I Miss You” in 2009. He also started to work with Tyler, the Creator, and groups like odd future, and also Tricky Stewart. Stewart was the key in helping him land a seat in the company of Def Jam as a solo recording artist. 

Music Success

In February of 2011, he released his first mixtape titled nostalgia, ULTRA without the knowledge of his record company Def Jam knowing. He did this due to the fact that the label was’t allowing him to drop his music after he was officially signed. The self dropped mixtape received tons of uplifting reviews from NPR, Rolling Stone, and many more. He also caught the attention of well known stars like Jay-Z and Kanye West. They were so impressed that they insisted Ocean to contribute to two tracks on their 2011 album, Watch the Throne. After his first drop, he was far from done. He went on to work on a follow up album that was released by Def Jam. in June of 2012 he unofficially released a song called Pyramids via his Tumblr site just how his first mixtape was released. The following month he was invited to appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where he revealed another unreleased snipped of another song from his upcoming album. Not shortly after, he revealed to his fans that he was bisexual but received a heap of support and encouragement for making this big announcement so publicly. His second album, channel ORANGE, was officially released on iTunes on July 10, 2012. Within the first couple of hours of the new album being released, it was already No. 1 on the charts. In 2016 he released a 45-minute visual album titled Endless while simultaneously, dropping his third album-second studio album- titled Blonde

Awards & Recognition

  • (2012) Channel Orange- Best Urban Contemporary Album 
  • (2012) No Church in the Wild- Best Rap/Sung Collaboration 
  • (2012) Blonde- Favorite R&B Album

Features

  • Slide by Calvin Harris
  • RAF by A$AP Mob
  • Flower Boy by Tyler, the creator 
  • 4:44 by Jay Z
  • Wolf by Tyler, the creator 
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Beyoncé by Beyoncé
  • Watch the Throne by Jay-Z and Kanye West 

Contemporaries

No one could truly compare to the works of Frank Ocean, but some of his contemporaries included: 

 

  • Tyler, the creator
  • Ear Sweatshirt
  • A$AP Rocky
  • Kanye West
  • SZA
  • Drake
  • The Weeknd
  • Jaden Smith 
  • Kid Cudi
  • Travis Scott
  • Kali Uchis 
  • Beyoncé

 

And Many More 

Discography

nostalgia, ULTRA

Channel ORANGE

Endless

Blonde

Conclusion

In conclusion, Frank Ocean is an extremely influential, successful, and talented artist that was able to shake the world with only 2 studio albums and 4 albums total. To this day, people swear by the talents of Frank Ocean even though he hasn’t released anything in the last 4 years. Even though he is an artists who doesn’t have much to say for his name, especially in the eyes of older generations, his art is untouchable and he shouldn’t be sold short based off the number of albums he has. He’s not only a song writer/ singer, he also has talents in producing music and creating films. His fans await his return everyday but until then his past albums will continue to stay on repeat. 

Sources

Sources

 

  • Hine, Samuel, and Cam Wolf. “A Visual Timeline of Frank Ocean’s Most Iconic Moments.” GQ, GQ, 11 Jan. 2019, www.gq.com/gallery/frank-ocean-photo-timeline

 

  • Kellman, Andy. “Frank Ocean: Biography & History.” AllMusic, www.allmusic.com/artist/frank-ocean-mn0002592086/biography

 

  • “A Track By Track Analysis Of Every Song On Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’.” Genius, genius.com/a/what-does-frank-ocean-s-blonde-mean

 

  • “Frank Ocean.” GRAMMY.com, 29 July 2020, www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/frank-ocean/15669

 

  • “Frank Ocean.” IMDb, IMDb.com, www.imdb.com/name/nm4927851/bio

 

  • “Frank Ocean.” Billboard, www.billboard.com/music/frank-ocean

 

  •  Frank Ocean. (2019, October 11). Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/musician/frank-ocean