Where In The World Is Frank Ocean?

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Graphic by Lorenzo Jimenez.

To Frank Ocean fans, today is July 104th.

An April announcement of a new album and magazine publication from the two-time Grammy winner, specified his new album would be released in July 2015.

Three months later, Frank Ocean fans have no album, no magazine, and no explanation of any of this. Fans across the Frank Ocean spectrum have taken to the internet to vent their frustrations.

The internet—The same medium that has allowed an artist like Frank Ocean to flourish has also been the demise of Frank these last few months. Yet, in the 104-day span of waiting on the new album, Dr. Dre released an album (technically still not Detox), rapper Future has put out two different projects (one alone and a collaborative album with Drake), and Pope Francis has announced a rock album

Some argue that this absence makes Frank irrelevant but the impending blessing of an album in the near future makes him anything but irrelevant.

Understanding the Frank Ocean absence dates back to the summer of 2014. Rumors broke out that a song written and put online by Frank a few years before would be released under the title “Summer Remains”. Over the course of a month, the song becomes an album rumor and suddenly there was a buzz. 

In November 2014 a song mysteriously appeared on Frank Ocean’s tumblr page, eventually titled “Memrise”. No other explanations came as 2014 winded down and hope for a new album dwindled. After waiting more than two years since Channel Orange was released, everyone was on board for the Year of Frank—2015.

So where in the world has Frank Ocean actually been?

January 17, 2015:You Are Luhh” is released on Tumblr as a cover of Aaliyah’s “(At Your Best) You Are Love”. The song was released on what would’ve been Aaliyah’s 36th birthday. Aaliyah’s version was also a cover of the Isley Brothers song “At Your Best”.

…Silence…

April 6, 2015: The infamous post announcing a new album and a magazine were posted to Frank’s tumblr page. Two versions of magazines entitled “Boys Don’t Cry” appear and become the rumored name of the album and magazine.

April 13, 2015: Rumors of a video and new single entitled “Nikes” spreads across the internet with no immediate follow-up.

April-July: Frank Ocean posts on Tumblr. Only referencing his album in a post reply to himself saying, “I know, I know…Quit asking dumb ass questions to the internet and drop your album. haha,” in reference to a physics question he posted. 

Other posts included a snapchat username (arealglitterboy), a post stating “CAITLYN GIVIN YOU BAWWDY” in reference to Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover, and a post stating “5-4, love wins,” in the Supreme Court decision on Same-Sex Marriage.

June 17, 2015: A Video of Frank Ocean refusing to sing happy birthday at a birthday party for his aunt is released by Auntie Fee. 

July 28, 2015: Frank Ocean’s mom tweets in reply to a tweet wondering about Frank’s album, “Just a little patience my princess. Nothing he wants more than to share this treasure with you.”

July 31, 2015: Still no album released. Frank’s brother trolls his Instagram followers by posting a picture of Frank stating that the album was out and links to Rick Roll.

August 3, 2015: Frank’s website’s merchandise section released several clothing items and was taken off hours after with no explanation of why they were put on or taken off.

August 5, 2015: Tweet shows a picture of Frank at a private photo shoot with very little detail.

August 20, 2015: Frank Ocean’s first and only scheduled performance of 2015 at FYF Fest in Los Angeles, CA is pulled. Kanye West replaces Frank as the main Saturday headliner. A press release according to FYF Fest states that Frank “decided on his own terms to cancel his appearance.”

August 27, 2015: Frank Ocean signs with Purple PR (Public relations firm) with no explanation from either side.

September 7, 2015: Reddit user "runs into" Frank Ocean at a sushi bar in Soho, London.

Mid-September: Producer of Channel Orange and friend of Frank Ocean, Om’mas Keith teases news of big announcement coming soon via Snapchat. Nothing has been announced yet.

September 21, 2015: Om’mas Keith writes a thinkpiece on why Grammy’s still matter speculation that Frank Ocean’s album will come out before September 30th, the official deadline for the 2016 Grammy awards.

September 23, 2015: Satirical Kickstarter campaign entitled “Finding Frank Ocean” is released. The campaign was greeted with a few backers with several hundred dollars already pledged.

 September 25, 2015: Frank Ocean is spotted with Tyler, The Creator and Taco Bennett in New York.

  The trials and tribulations of being a Frank Ocean fan have grown increasingly harder throughout the year of 2015. As for now, the working titled of the album and magazine project remain tentatively titled “Boys Don’t Cry”.  Rumors of Lil B, Tyler The Creator, Grimes, and Yung Lean have all been prevalent but none have yet to be confirmed.

Through months of waiting for any music or news from Frank Ocean, online communities have becoming increasingly prevalent in sharing any sort of news that breaks of Frank. The Frank Ocean Subreddit (and popular rap forum “Kanyetothe” have generated tons of posts and news related to Frank Ocean.

Even though morale towards the Frank Ocean album is currently low after officially entering Q4 of the year, understanding the amount of pressure it takes to follow up a critically acclaimed masterpiece album can be strenuous. As a self-claimed perfectionist, Frank Ocean can only create and handle so much.

So where in the world is Frank Ocean?

Who really knows.

In the grand scheme of things, waiting three years for an album was nearly standard prior to the internet era of music. Dr. Dre fans practically waited 15 years for a new album and didn’t even get the album they were promised. D’Angelo fell off the face of the planet for 14 years between his hit album Voodoo and his 2014 surprise-release album Black Messiah. Modest Mouse fans were hesitant that the band would ever release another album prior to their release of Strangers to Ourselves earlier this year after an eight-year album hiatus. 

Possibly the biggest problem with the release of this album is that there has been nearly ZERO interaction between Frank and his fans in all this time. There have been no press releases, no responses to tumblr questions, and no interviews in the span of all of this. Whether or not this album and magazine project gets an updated release date or shows up on iTunes in the middle of the night, it seems as if there is no foreshadowing what will happen.

Wherever Frank Ocean is, the biggest hope is that he is creating some sort of music. Creating one of the best R&B albums in recent history, one can only hope that this delay is for the best intentions rather than factors outside of Frank and his production team’s control.

Whatever it may be, let’s just hope we don’t have New Years in July. 

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