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Frank Ocean: Establishing an Identity

As Frank Ocean evolves as an individual, his music evolves with him.

IMAGE FROM BILLBOARDBillboard

Frank Ocean has to be one of the most intuitive R&B artists of the 2010s. His latest project, which released in the summer of 2016, shows his true and blurred colors, the album's cover art has a photo of Frank, crying in which appears to be a shower. The photo is then overlapped with a white background, showing Frank's purity and transparency, which is sung through numerous songs that have so much melodically sound tone to the topic in question.

Frank's way of establishing an identity feels unnoticed most of the time. In his debut album, Channel Orange, he establishes the main theme of this project so subtlety. Having the cover art be so simple, but scream the main idea shows Frank's subtle work in progress. The solid orange background signifies that this album could talk about warmth, love, and a more logical topic, Frank's summer... The summer he met his first love. The text over this solid color says Channel Orange, this already also shows more of the theme of the album, after almost every song, Frank flips through channels on the television, to give more immersion about his love life, his summer of loneliness... Until he meets, him.

Even going back through his Def Jam Days, releasing a mixtape under the nose of his label, that he has a very bad feud with, thinking this would be his chance to make noise in the industry, but what they actually did to him was shelve him. They did not realize the potential and talent that Frank has, luckily he stood up to them, and he released said mixtape called Nostalgia Ultra. This mixtape was released for free for the world to listen to, and he actually received the reception he wanted, and the attention he wanted from Def Jam Records, trying to persuade them to actually start using his talent.

During the release of Endless back in 2016, the album was under the label(s) Fresh Produce and Def Jam, with its dark and eerie album art. And his second album, Blonde, was released under the label Boys Don't Cry, Frank's personally owned music label. This combination of colors and lighting between the two albums signifies Frank's freedom, his freedom from the darkness that he believed to be Def Jam Records, Endless was his last album that he needed to pump out for Def Jam to finally be free of the clutches of a label, to be free. And what a way to portray freedom, elegance, and purity with an album like Blonde, a masterpiece of music, the mix of soul, R&B, soft rock, and shades of hip-hop gives this album a diverse mix of genres that he surprisingly mixes very well, and interchanges between.

Blonde also has a wide range of contributors, from the influences of Stevie Wonder to the instrumentals of (surprisingly) The Beatles and to the soft melodic voice of Beyonce in the back of "Pink + White". Other contributors include Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, James Blake, and Tyler the Creator (see the full contributing list below).

Frank Ocean has created an identity for himself, unknowingly. The time between the release of Channel Orange to his sophomore albums Endless and Blonde are essentially four years apart. This makes his public perception different than most modern artists, that highlight their lives of prosperity, wealth, and success on social media, while Frank hides in the shadows, living a life of privacy.

Frank took four years to live, he took trips around the world to experience cultures, attitudes, and motives... This was the mindset of Endless and Blonde. He did not want another Channel Orange, he wanted to grow in the R&B scene, he wanted to show that his work and his art is not a one-hit wonder. To the surprised, unsurprised public, he released two albums in 2016, which have so much instrumental thought carved into each song on each album. From "Pink + White's" violins and drums to "Night's" more electronically made instrumental and then to "Rushes Too's" simple but effective guitar solo, shows Frank's growth and acceptance to more creative beats. That is what an artist has to do with their music, evolve with your music.

'Blonde' Album Contributors

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