The hype is real.
Over the last few months, Frank Ocean fans have been getting more insight into what’s been up in the enigmatic, nigh on reclusive R&B star’s world.
Since the release of Blonde back in 2016, Ocean embarked on a sporadic amount of touring in support of the album. As he has proven over the last handful of years, Frank Ocean doesn’t need to flog shows to generate hype.
When he does a rare interview, we pull it apart for clues pointing towards what’s next.
When he joined Instagram last year, his follower count skyrocketed within 24 hours.
Is it an example of music fans living in a digital age, that any one miniscule move of an artist can be consumed in such a way? Or is it incredible marketing that has made an artist like Ocean – who has somehow hit the right formula of enjoying musical success and time out of the spotlight – into this Oz-like character?
In the last month, we’ve received not one, but two singles from Ocean – almost unheard of in comparison to the roll out of new music (excluding features) from him in between channel ORANGE and Blonde.
The first – ‘DHL’ – kicked off the beginnings of a new club-inspired chapter of Ocean’s output. At one of his PrEP+ pop up parties at the beginning of the month, he also previewed a new, untitled collaboration with British rapper Skepta.
In a recent interview with W Magazine, Ocean indicated that his new music has been inspired by the Detroit and Chicago scenes, while French electronica and house music also has provided inspiration. Moving away from the more stripped back, lofty scenes of Blonde, Ocean is exploring perhaps more hedonistic, open soundscape.
Following that up, his latest single, ‘In My Room’, was released on November 2 exclusively via Apple Music. Incorporating rap in with rhythmic progressions, fans are given another hint about this marriage of strength and vulnerability that has become a trademark of Ocean’s music.
Coupling the above releases with the already available online tracks ‘Dear April’, ‘Cayendo’ and ‘Little Demon’, we have a broader picture of a new Frank Ocean album coming together. Eagle eyed fans have already begun to speculate what is coming next, based of the ‘In My Room’ artwork, which features silhouettes of Frank in different positions.
Redditors have broken down a theory that the silhouettes indicate how many songs will be on the forthcoming album, remixes included.
What remains the same, though, is how Frank Ocean is able to control his own narrative, which today, is quite impressive. As he said recently, he’ll be throwing more curveballs than before on new music.