Singer, songwriter, and rapper Frank Ocean got his start with music in his teenage years, walking dogs and washing cars to get studio time. After his hometown, New Orleans, was hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Ocean decided to move to Los Angeles for just six weeks to continue recording music until his hometown recording studio could start back up. However, he began to develop connections with people in the music industry. He quickly got a songwriting deal, and started writing for artists such as John Legend, Justin Bieber, and Beyoncé. While he loved writing songs for other people because of the anonymity yet still being involved in the music industry, he still wanted to pursue his own music career. In 2009, he met Tricky Stewart, and he signed his first solo deal with Def Jam Recordings. Ocean released his first song, Novacane, in 2011. Word traveled fast about his debut single as his distinct voice and rhythmic sound set him apart from other artists. Although his success was building, he continued to cowrite songs as he collaborated with Jay-Z and Kanye to produce "No Church in the Wild" and "Made in America". In 2012, his single "Thinkin Bout You" was the lead single to his album channel ORANGE.
Channel ORANGE, Ocean's first album, got six Grammy nominations, selling 130,000 copies in the first week and was number two on the Billboard 200. The public went crazy, immediately in love with Ocean's album. Critics everywhere were saying that even though Ocean was an R&B artist, this album had an alternative R&B sound, setting him apart from other artists. This album's paramount success made Ocean a common name in the music industry, making fans anxious for his next music release.
Unfortunately for fans, Ocean took a four year hiatus from releasing music, making fans concerned with whether he was coming back or not. There were rumors that Ocean was working on new material. However, the rumors were never proven true, as Ocean continued to stay private. In 2016, Ocean finally came out with a seventeen song album. Blonde.
The majority of the album is R&B based, showcasing his vocal ability. However, there are elements of rap in the album, such as in Nikes, Solo, Skyline To, Seigfried, and Futura Free. There are two songs on the album that stand out from any other time of music produced currently, and they are Be Yourself and Facebook Story. Be Yourself is a voice recording of an older woman warning about drugs, smoking, alcohol, and self worth. The recording ends with "This is Mom, bye.". The specialty to this addition to the album because while it has a soft music background, there is no singing, just an inspirational warning message. Facebook Story is told from the perspective of a man with an accent. He is telling the story of a girl that he was dating at the time who thought that he was cheating because he didn't accept her on Facebook. The man explains that this means nothing and that "I'm in front of you, I'm everyday here in your house", but she was so obsessed with virtual possession that this didn't matter to her. This shows Ocean's maturity because he included this in his album to speak about what we can assume are his beliefs in social media and the virtual world versus real life and personal connection.
It is obvious that Ocean has spent the past four years carefully crafting this album. He did not simply throw some songs together in a random fashion to please his fans and show off his talent. All of the songs on the album have deep meaning and have different vibes to them. Not only is this impressive, but it sets Ocean apart from every other current artist, as he is using his talent wisely and creating his own personal sound.
With all of this in mind, I ask you, was the four year wait worth it?