The wait is over. After teasing us with promises of an album all summer, release dates that turned out to be false, Odd Future’s eclectic R&B darling Frank Ocean finally delivered! The gentle soul release his sophomore offering, Blond, via Apple Music. As with Channel Orange, Blond is an aural kaleidoscope of sex, drugs, God, Los Angeles, rock and roll, and hip hop; mixed in with simple melodies that sound dope as hell. What also makes this album dope is, as with Channel Orange, Blond also does a humble boast of surprise guests.
It’s evident from the opening track, Nikes (that included a video and ASAP Rocky cameo), Frank is proving that good things come to those who wait. On a slow, screw-like beat, Ocean cleverly plays with the title by singing, “these bitches want Nikes/they looking for a check/tell ‘em it ain’t likely/she looking for a ring like Carmelo/you must be on that white like Othello”. On the track Pink and White (one of my favorites), with production assistance from Pharrell, the piano plays the lead in a symphony that’s reminiscent of the film Alice In Wonderland, complete with Beyonce (surprise Guest #1) providing background vocals.
Another highlight track is Skyline To, a ballad that seems to detail a day (and night) in the life of the rich and famous. Ocean showcases his rhyming skills with surprise guests #2 and #3 to boot, Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator. Even though their feature is more so ad libs and noises, in my opinion they could’ve given an actual verse. Nonetheless, the blend of instruments and Frank’s lead/background vocals make up for it.
What takes the cake of this musical treat are the two tracks, Solo and Solo (Reprise) with none other than Mr. Ice Cold himself, Andre 3000, who gives another dope feature vocally and with spitting; the latter of it being straight fire. On the Solo (Reprise), 3 Stacks laments over the state of the world and hip hop even throwing a shot at Drake and the drama that I’m going to start calling, Ghostwrite-Gate (trademark pending).
All in all, Frank Ocean has officially solidified himself as one of the top Pop/R&B artist in the game right now. Blond shows that Ocean might have taken a brief hiatus from music, but he never really left. The music is clear proof.