Frank Ocean (born Christopher Lonny Edwin Breaux on October 28, 1987 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and producer. His music is typically categorized as R&B but covers a wide range of styles and influences, and he is considered one of the leading artists in the PBR&B genre. He started his music career in the late 2000s as a songwriter before joining the Odd Future music collective in 2010. He released his debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, in 2011, followed by his debut album Channel Orange in 2012, both to critical acclaim. After much delay, he released his second and third albums, Endless and Blonde, just one day apart from each other in 2016.
He is also notable as one of the relatively few openly LGBT male stars in R&B music. Around the time of Channel Orange's release, Frank came out as bisexual in an open letter◊ on his Tumblr account, where he stated that his first love was a man. A significant amount of his music, especially on and following Channel Orange, can be interpreted to reference his experiences as a bisexual man.
Since his coming out, he has often been considered an icon for the LGBT community. Frank Ocean's music has consistently earned critical acclaim and accolades as well as commercial success, making him one of the most successful R&B artists of the past decade.
- Channel Orange (2012)
- Endless (2016)
- Blonde (2016)
- Nostalgia, Ultra (2011)
Thinkin' 'Bout Tropes:
- Advertised Extra: Inverted on "Pink + White". Beyoncé contributes some fairly noticeable backing vocals to the end of the song, but isn't credited as a feature (something most artists would be jumping to do to boost publicity of the song.)
- Allegory / World of Symbolism: "Pyramids" is one giant allegory for the fall of the black woman (and black people in general) from queens and pharaohs to hustlers and strippers. The titular pyramid goes from being a symbol of power and wealth to a strip club by song's end.
- Ambiguously Bi: Earlier in his career, various lyrics in his songs led to speculation about his sexual orientation. Averted as of 2012, when he officially came out as bisexual.
- Awesome Mc Coolname
- Badass Gay: Although mostly known for his tender R&B, he delivers hard-hitting raps on tracks like Tyler's "She", the OF posse cut "Oldie", & the trap posse cut "RAF" and rolls with one of the baddest crews in modern hip hop.
- Be Yourself: Played for laughs in "Be Yourself", which starts off as this but goes off message:"[...] Listen, stop trying to be somebody else. Don't try to be someone else. Be yourself and know that that's good enough. Don't try to be someone else. Don't try to be like someone else, don't try to act like someone else. Be yourself. Be secure with yourself. Rely and trust upon your own decisions. On your own beliefs. You understand the things that I've taught you. Not to drink alcohol, not to use drugs. Don't use that cocaine or marijuana because that stuff is highly addictive [...]"
- The Big Easy: Born and raised in New Orleans. He moved to Los Angeles after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his recording studio. "Pink + White" uses imagery from the aftermath of the hurricane in its verses.
- Blatant Lies: The verses of "Thinkin Bout You" are filled with them ("Got a beach house I could sell you in Idaho...") as an attempt to make sure the other party is actively listening to him or not.
- Breakout Character: to the point that a significant portion of his listeners have never even heard of Odd Future.
- Break-Up Song: A lot of his songs are these. Usually they're written in retrospect about a relationship that's already ended, rather than the moment of the breakup itself.
- The Cameo: Appears at the end of Domo Genesis' "Steam Roller".
- John Mayer lays down some sweet guitar licks on "White" but doesn't sing.
- Cover Version: Technically, although it's really more like extended sampling. About half of the songs on nostalgia. ULTRA. transpose the beats from other artists' tracksnote ; Frank tends to match the melodies but creates his own lyrics and harmonies.
- In 2018 he released a straightforward cover of "Moon River" from the film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
- Did Not Get the Guy: The gist of Frank's "Coming Out" story, most directly referenced in "Bad Religion".
- Diegetic Switch: "Golden Girl" does this, starting by playing the song on a radio before transitioning into the studio version.
- Downer Ending: "Swim Good" and "Super Rich Kids".
- Played with in "Strawberry Swing", but hey, at least whoever was in that spaceship got off the planet...
- Drugs Are Bad: In "Be Yourself", Rosie Watsonnote delivers an anvilicious speech about this:"Many college students have gone to college and gotten hooked on drugs, marijuana, and alcohol. [...] You understand the things that I've taught you. Not to drink alcohol, not to use drugs. Don't use that cocaine or marijuana, because that stuff is highly addictive. When people become weed-heads they become sluggish, lazy, stupid and unconcerned. Sluggish, lazy, stupid and unconcerned. That's all marijuana does to you, okay? This is mom. Unless you're taking it under doctor's... umm... control. Then it's regulated. Do NOT smoke marijuana. Do NOT consume alcohol, do NOT get in the car with someone who is inebriated. This is mom, call me, bye."
- Epic Rocking: "Pyramids" clocks at about 10 minutes.
- "Device Control (Reprise)" clocks in at 7:04.
- Exact Words: When his 30th birthday began nearing, fans pointed back to an old tweet of his that said "5 albums before 30", noting that he had 4 under his belt (Nostalgia, Ultra, Channel Orange, Endless, Blonde) and had 1 more to go. When he turned 30, nothing happened. Then he took to his Tumblr to state that he did make the album before 30...he just didn't put it out.
- Foreshadowing: When Frank rapped "I'm high and bi / Oh, wait, I'm straight" on the OF posse cut "Oldie," most people simply interpreted it as clever if risky wordplay. Months later, he came out as either gay or bi.
- Hidden Track: channel ORANGE features "Golden Girl (feat. Tyler, the Creator)" on a limited number of physical copies of the album. "Futura Free" features an untitled hidden track made up of loud static noise and interviews conducted by one of Ocean's friends.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Changed his legal name from Christopher Edwin Breaux to Frank Ocean in 2015.
- Let's Just Be Friends: His newly married wife pulls this on him in "American Wedding".
- In a real-life example, the guy he was hanging out with didn't return his feelings; Frank hasn't made it clear whether the guy was in denial or if he was genuinely straight, but it fueled a good chunk of channel ORANGE.
- Love Nostalgia Song: "Ivy" and "White Ferrari".
- Minimalistic Cover Art: channel ORANGE bears the name in two distinct white fonts on an orange background. Blonde features the album title and a picture of Frank taking a Shower of Angst while covering his face.
- Miniscule Rocking:
- All 3 of his studio albums have a number of short interludes between songs.
- Of the 20 tracks on Endless, half of them are less than 2 minutes long.
- Mr. Fanservice: Let's just say he's got quite the build◊.
- New Sound Album: Blonde was vastly more experimental than Channel Orange.
- The Oldest Profession: In the second half of "Pyramids", the "Cleopatra" character is a stripper who works at a club called "The Pyramid". She is implied to be a prostitute as well:But your love ain't free no more...But your love ain't free no more...
- Recurring Riff: The Buddy Ross song "Runnin Around" is used multiple times throughout Blonde as background music for its spoken-word interludes.
- "Seigfried" contains the line "This is not my life, it's just a fond farewell to a friend".
- "Provider" name-drops Stanley Kubrick and Aphex Twin.
- Shower of Angst: On the cover of Blonde.
- Social Media Is Bad: "Facebook Story" implies this. Sebastian, the man speaking, argues that his girlfriend's Facebook friend request is meaningless when they've already been dating for three years, and she takes his unwillingness to accept it as a sign that he's cheating on her.
- Suicide by Sea: "Swim Good" is very much about this trope.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: In "Nights", the beat of the song completely switches at the 3:30 mark, which is also the exact halfway point of the album.
- True Companions: Ocean has no plans on distancing himself from Odd Future. His tumblr account header, to date, still reads "FRANK OCEAN ï¿½ OFWG ï¿½ KTA". Tyler even helped him work on Blonde and featured in post-Blonde single Biking.
- Unrequited Love: A theme in a number of his songs.
- In "Thinkin Bout You" he reflects on a past relationship that failed, wondering if the other person still has feelings for him the way he does.
- "Forrest Gump" is inspired by Frank's feelings from his (unrequited) first love (Ironically, the song is sung from the perspective of Jenny, while in the film she was the one not to reciprocate Forrest's feelings for most of the film.)
- Verbal Backspace: On Odd Future's "Oldie" (released before Frank came out):I'm high and I'm biWait, I mean I'm straight
- World Building: "Pyramids" uses its ten minutes wisely to flesh out two love triangles and the worlds around them: one in ancient Egypt; the other in modern-day North America.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Has dyed his hair green, blue, and pink as of late.