Much of the hype around Frank Ocean has been about his sexuality and not necessarily his music. He published a moving letter on his Tumblr page, revealing a time when he was in love with another man, when he was 19. As a member of the hip-hop community this was an incredibly brave move, as this particular genre of music has always been less than friendly to homosexuals.
However knowing this piece of information about Ocean’s personal life before listening to his music only serves to add a greater sense of poignancy to his debut offering Channel Orange. The album clearly states songs, where he sings about male love interests particularly in songs Thinkin Bout You and Forrest Gump. Frank by name and frank by nature it seems.
But it is important not to pidgeon – hole Ocean as just a homosexual urban artist. His album is a thought-provoking, multi-faceted listen from start to finish dealing with issues of drug abuse, love, heartbreak, money and history. A particular highlight of the album is Pyramids, an epic nine –minute song about prostitution hidden under the metaphor of ancient Egypt. Only a gifted songwriter could pull that off and luckily for Ocean, he does just that.
Each song tells a story set to slow, meditative beats. This is an album that deserves to be listened to, and not just played in the background. So sit back, pour yourself a drink and allow Ocean’s beautiful voice and provocative lyrics to wash over you.