Artist deep dive: Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean is one of the most exciting R&B artists of the 21 st century, and he has certainly made a
name for himself in the industry, despite the fact that he has not released nearly as much music as
other artists of his stature. In order to truly appreciate a Frank Ocean album – or even song – you will
need to listen and relisten to the songs again and again, writing down what they say, considering the
music, and reflecting on how it all fits together.

Entire podcasts have been devoted to picking apart his work , and they have only just scratched the
surface. Frank Ocean is undoubtedly an artist and poet, and part of the reason why he is slow to
release music is because of that artistic sensibility.

When you listen to a Frank Ocean album, you know that every single detail is intentional, well thought
out, and considered, and listening to the entire album can give you a deep appreciation for the work
as a whole. It’s hardly surprising that he’s managed to build up a cult-like following, despite his new
releases being few and far between. Keep reading to learn more about Frank Ocean’s work and
inspirations as well as what we can expect from him next.

Frank Ocean’s discography

Frank Ocean has a fairly limited discography compared to many artists who share a similar level of
fame. He moved to Los Angeles and started writing music for some of the biggest artists in the
industry, including Beyonce, Justin Bieber, John Legend, and Brandy.

Around 2009, he decided to start making music for himself rather than for other people and joined the
music collective Odd Future. As an independent artist, he released singles including ‘In My Room’,
‘DHL’, ‘Moon River’, ‘Provider’, ‘Biking (Solo)’, ‘Lens’, ‘Biking’, and ‘Swim Good’, among others.

In 2012, he released Channel Orange, his debut studio album that landed at number two on the
Billboard 200 and sold 131,000 album copies during its first week alone. He received near-universal
acclaim from critics for the album, and it shot him into the spotlight in the music world.

Following Channel Orange, he released Blond in 2016, which again was met with universal acclaim
from fans and music critics alike. Frank Ocean has taken home a host of awards including two
Grammy Awards and a Brit Award in the International Male Solo Artist category.

The influence of gaming on Frank Ocean’s music

Frank Ocean’s discography is obviously incredibly diverse and complex. However, the influence ofvideo games on his music has been present since the very beginning of his career. Frank Ocean is a
long-time fan of the SEGA game series Street Fighter, and he even used one of the Street Fighter
characters, Yoga Flame, as his Twitter handle when he was still active on social media.

You will have noticed that Frank Ocean also samples certain video game sounds in his songs such as
‘Thinkin Bout You.’ These add a sense of neon-lit nostalgia to the tracks, relating to his youth spent
playing video games on the popular gaming systems of the 1990s. During an interview with the BBC,
he was asked which consoles he enjoys playing on the most, and Frank Ocean responded that he no
longer plays video games, but he previously enjoyed playing on the N64 and Dreamcast.

Frank Ocean has also described the process of creating and finishing an album as analogous to
proceeding through the levels of a video game. The aesthetics of his albums and music videos also
suggest a sort of 1990s anime-inflected gaming culture that you would have found in arcades across
the United States during that time. The fact that this aesthetic has stayed with Frank Ocean for so
long, even long after he stopped playing video games, points to its significance in his creative

What can we expect from Frank Ocean in the future?

Frank Ocean is first and foremost an artist, so it is difficult to pin down exactly what we can expect
from him in the future. Unlike some artists, he does not churn out albums regularly and constantly run
the performance circuit. Instead, he makes the music he wants, when he wants, and – importantly –
how he wants. Regardless, we’re willing to bet that anything he releases is going to be sensational.

Some fans find it frustrating that Frank Ocean does not produce albums every year and that it has
been a few years since his last album was released. However, these fans may need to take a step
back and consider why they feel this way.

It is likely that the reason they love Frank Ocean in the first place is because of the level of care,
thought, and detail that goes into every piece of music he creates. Truly inspired art that is produced
within an inch of its life is not something that can be rushed, and real fans of Frank Ocean and his
music should be able to appreciate this.

That being said, it does look like Frank Ocean may be dropping a new album in the next few years.
He is reportedly shopping his new album with different record labels. His last official release of music
was the double A-side single ‘Cayendo’ and ‘Dear April’, which were released in April 2020. Since
then, he has also been confirmed to headline at Coachella in 2023. All of these moves suggest that
we will be hearing a new album in the next few years – hopefully.


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