New Orleans-born, Beverly Hills resident Frank Ocean is the bubbling under artist-of-the-moment, who seems to be on a meteoric rise to the big leagues. The 23-year-old affiliate of controversial rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) or Odd Future for short, has most recently penned a track for Beyonce (‘I Miss You’), and logged in studio time with hip-hop legend Nas and producer Pharrell Williams. The Def Jam artist is even hinting towards collaborations with Jay-Z and Kanye West.
Ocean is also an accomplished songwriter. By the name of Christopher “Lonny” Breaux, he boasts credits in releases from Brandy (‘Human’), Justin Bieber (‘My World’), and John Legend (‘Revolver’). This talent led him to a deal with Island Def Jam over a year ago. There, Ocean completed his album nostalgia, ULTRA. The album shines on the basis of Frank’s knack for story telling, which is almost poetic at times, laid over tracks from left-leaning pop acts and certified rockers like Coldplay, Mr. Hudson, MGMT, and The Eagles, all presented with Brandy-esque vocal arrangments, and backing vocals.
Yet, the album along with Frank went ignored by the company for what he alleges to be a full year. On Feb 16, the singer took matters into his own hands, releasing the LP as a free download via his tumblr as sort of a middle finger to the company. The results were nothing short of epic. nostalgia, ULTRA has received overwelmingly positive reviews from critics and some of the industries biggiest names (see above). Ocean, along with the Drake-approved The Weeknd, have been called the “new wave of R&B”. Even Chris Brown’s mini-beef sparking comment, was nothing more than a misconstrued compliment on Ocean’s artistry.
Now Def Jam is trying to make things right. Frank Ocean’s debut will be officially released as a shortened EP, nostalgia, LITE, on July 26. You can check out the full, free version here.