As you can probably tell from my website, there are very few times when I’m actually completely at a loss for words. There haven’t been many artists in the past 10 years to illicit such a reaction from me, especially from a genre that I’ve always respected and loved, R&B. However, I’d been hearing a great deal of noise about a certain young man named Frank Ocean, an artist who’s creating music that’s not only innovative, but completely unheard of in mainstream music after the 90s.
Very little is known about Frank Ocean, really. There was a big to-do about his sexuality and some of his lyrics can be, at times, suggestive. However, before all that noise, there was one very real truth — Frank Ocean is one of the most exciting things to come to music for a very long time.
Before we knew him as one of the most impressive talents to come into the scene, he was known as Christopher Breaux, an aspiring songwriter with a knack for the poetic and a great sense of the potently beautiful. Being a child of New Orleans, it’s no surprise that he grew up around jazz, melding that sense of timing and eccentricity into the entropy that makes up his own sound. He continued to cultivate his sound at the University of New Orleans, where he lived until the unfathomable tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina swept through his hometown and uprooted his life.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Ocean was forced to find new means of continuing to create the music that saw him become one of most talked about artists of the last five years. Ocean’s understanding of music is alarmingly advanced for someone as young as he (born 28 October 1987). He manages to meld not only the precision of classical jazz, but the smoothness of R&B with the awkward gait of something similar to pixelated stereophonics.