To mention the name of this New Orleans born, LA-based artist in the same breath as the super group OFWGKTA around certain members of the Woodinville community and the only response you get is a really big ewww. It’s straight up blasphemy to argue that Ocean, who has written songs for Justin Bieber, John Legend, Brandy, Beyonce, and Lil Wayne, belongs in the very same group that has Tyler, The Creator talking about stabbing Bruno Mars. I understand such a sentiment, considering I was really skeptical of him because of his R&B base. However, after listening to Ocean’s nostalgia, ULTRA mixtape, I’ve completely reversed my tone. Matter of fact, I feel so strongly about the mixtape, that is why I think Frank Ocean and Tyler will end up being the most successful members of the group. The reasons for Tyler are obvious, given the fanatic fan base he has (looking at the youtube comments of OFWGKTA videos, it seems as if the word swag can only be used in relation to Odd Future related endeavors), but the reason for why Frank Ocean will be successful is much more interesting. As a friend of mine stated, it’s more appropriate to think of Frank Ocean as less of a member of Odd Future and more of an associate of them. Almost every other artist in the group has Tyler, the Creator’s fingerprints all over it. Although Earl may prove to be an exception, he’s a victim of being symbol for something he not actually be, considering all the “Free Earl” slogans. Let’s go more into the music and examine the foundations for Frank’s future success here. His work is very ambitious, considering the first, true full length song off of nostalgia, Ultra is a very pleasant cover of Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing”. He also samples other artists like MGMT, to varying degrees of success. The MGMT sampled “Nature Feels” just feels a little unpolished simply because it’s basically him singing a few lyrics over MGMT’s “Electric Feel”, but I admire the effort. You all should check out “Novacane”, Frank’s weary tale of having to go back to drugs in order to get closer to the girl he wants, only to experience an even further personal disconnect.
As pointed out by a Pitchfork review, the biggest difference between Frank Ocean and the other Odd Future members comes from how Frank Ocean “deals with the underlying sense of abandonment and rejection that ignites much of Odd Future’s bloody, cuss-laden vengeance.” This sense of maturity can be seen in the contrast between Tyler’s angry snarl in “Bastard” (“Fuck a deal, I just want my father’s e-mail so I can tell him how much I hate him in detail”), and Frank’s vulnerable approach in his sample of Mr. Hudson’s “There Will Be Tears” (“My friend said it wasn’t so bad/ You can’t miss what you ain’t had/ Well, I can– I’m sad,”)
Hit up the OFWGKTA tumblr page to get Frank Ocean’s mixtape for free! A quick note here, when you download the mixtape, all the songs will be categorized as bluegrass. Why? As Frank Ocean said himself, “I don’t want to seem like I have a cause against genres, or maybe I do… Bluegrass is swag. Bluegrass is all the way swag.”