I became a fan of Frank Ocean cause of my cousins back in Toronto (Kuya Louie and Missy. Thanks guys). Prior to a car ride of a few of his songs, I've heard of the man before and since I had No Church in the Wild in my library early this year, I have been exposed to him. People could be saying "Oh of course, you are a Frank Ocean fan..." cause everybody is and should be. The man has some lyrics worthy to wrestle with in Literature classes and his songs have some pretty dark and deep touches to them that you still want to listen to over and over again just cause it's that good. I was floored especially after listening to Thinking About You, Voodoo, We All Try, his version of Electric Feel which I find cute and a little funny, but still great and also Lovecrimes. Swim Good I've loved Ebrahim's cover more than Frank's, but it doesn't take away from the handsome depth to the song. For me he's given hip hop a fresh break. These are the moments I wish I knew more about music, the references, how things sound like this, etc., cause now all I could write about are impressions and just a dash of knowledge, but anyway, in light of recent events--as we all know, I have grown more of a fan of his.
And what's funny is that it's not even about the fact that he may be gay or not and that his "coming out" enlightened everybody, but it's more of his letter that I admire the most. To admit and put out in public things you'd rather keep private is almost not beneficial for anybody, especially for people who are under the spotlight. But for someone like Frank Ocean and other brave souls who have admitted to many things, I pay huge respect for. While somethings we own up to aren't really the purest of things we do, it takes more than courage to admit anything, be it good or bad. It takes a deep understanding of truth, maturity and knowledge of ones' self to even face reality, so putting it out there is heroic.
I am excited for Frank Ocean. I know the hip hop world or at least the perception of it is all gangsta, testosterone spilling all over the place, settling each other's issues with guns and in bars may not seem like the world that welcomes this kind of openness, but I am hopeful. After all, everybody's human and the best of the hip hop world, like all the best of art and music and literature, has in its heart everything that is human, I believe this wouldn't be such an issue. I am excited for Frank Ocean not just cause of his new album, his first under a major record label I think, but I'm excited that he has had the courage to just let it out there, this letter, that tells of his first love. I am sure we have all tried to make something as profound and I am but guilty of only attempting to do something this perfect, but it's the best letter I've read.
It was that good, that it took me back to younger days and it suddenly felt so fresh, I wanted to leave the office and cry it out. Everything you would want to read in a first love letter is here in Frank Ocean's. And what I incredibly admire about it is how honest it all is. He gives away just the essentials, wraps everything he is feeling (rejection, doubt, confusion, pain, love) in his trademark cool writing style and presents to you a chapter of Ocean's life that seems to touch most of us who have experienced something very similar. It's beautiful. Imagine Adele and Frank Ocean writing together... (this is me being a super fan)
After the letter, I've imagined the letter being the better, more detailed version of Thinking About You. Both are love stories done in such a way that listeners and readers have more to grapple with. While both have been fairly straightforward in their own ways, it's still not the kind to divulge everything, reason why I have high praises for Ocean. The finest books I've read as a student and a reader have these elements as their strongest qualities and I believe if Frank Ocean does start writing more than songs, he'll be one of the most talented and best voices our generation has ever seen.
And being an appreciator, I have to thank Frank Ocean for this. It gives me security as a writer, music fan, reader and all around person that out there exists still great writing, great love and great human beings.