2011 MEMORABLE MOMENTS: Frank Ocean vs. Def Jam (7 of 10)

Today Frank Ocean is in constant rotation on urban radio stations and has been set on a path to become a household name. But before he wrote songs for Beyonce’s ‘4,’ landed on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s ‘Watch the Throne’ album and switched his stage name from Lonny Breaux to Frank Ocean; he was on the bottom of Def Jam’s priority list.

“I signed my paperwork at the end of ’09. It was official by January 2010. Outside of the contract and the paperwork, there was no relationship. I never walked through the building. I never had an opportunity to build with them, because of some other sh*t within the company. All I knew was that I was an artist, and I didn’t have a relationship with my label.”

Def Jam held off on releasing his debut “Nostalgia, Ultra,” to Ocean’s despise. OFWGKTA’s resident crooner took matters into his own hands, offering the album as a free download on his tumblr website. He ranted via his Twitter page, “I. did. this. not ISLAND DEF JAM. that’s why you see no label logo on the artwork that I DID. guess its my fault for trusting my dumbass lawyer and signing my career over to a failing company. F**k Def Jam & any company that goes the length of signing a kid with dreams & talent w/ no intention of following through. F**k em.”

The feedback from the project became such a sensation that Def Jam took notice and decided to release it in stores. In the end, Ocean made Def Jam pay attention by giving fans material they desired.


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