Happy 1 year anniversary to the original date that the alleged Frank Ocean album was supposed to drop. Since the release of Channel Orange in 2012, fans have been yearning for this new musical work. Over time, we have been teased with numerous offerings such as a compilation entitled unreleased, MISC and the mixtape album Lonny Breaux, Pt. 1. But even these left us wanting and in a time of desperation, have all fell prey to an onslaught of new album release rumors.
Fellow musicians have also added to the elusive movement of Frank Ocean, with James Blake telling Pitchfork back in May, "He is onto something, he really is." He continued to tease new music with an appearance on Kanye West's Life of Pablo, a small leak of a 3 minute track on Soundcloud (which quickly pulled back down) and then finally, with Chance the Rapper telling Complex Magazine, "I know he’s away making a masterpiece. I think that Frank is very, very focused on his catalogue. Anything that you hear him on that’s a feature was recorded a long time ago… I don’t think Frank is working on anyone’s stuff except for his own."
Besides deleting his Twitter account and canceling his headlining show at FYF Festival in Los Angeles last year, Ocean has mostly been in isolation from both the public and press. Then, on July 2, he decides to update his website with this image:
If you look closely, there's two dates in there worth noting. First, there's of course the July __ 2016 at the bottom but higher up there's a November 13, 2016 date hidden away. So there's no telling when this album is intended to drop. Do the other dates provide better insight? Luckily, Lauren Nostro from the site Genius went ahead and tried breaking down the meanings of the various dates:
- July 2, 2015: No Frank news on this day but could this possibly have been the first due date for Boys Don’t Cry? In April 2015, he first teased “two versions” of his print magazine with hashtags referencing his album and magazine would drop in July.
- Aug. 7, 2015: Four days prior to this, Frank’s website was updated andaccording to a Stereogum post, his site directed to his Tumblr which featured a Shopify web store and inaccessible tabs for “VIDS,” “AUDIO,” and “GET.” New apparel designs were uploaded to the site, too. Maybe the site was revamped in anticipation for an Aug. 7 release, at the time.
- Later this month, he uploaded his 2008 independent mixtape Lonny Breaux to Spotify, which is named after his old moniker.
- Sept. 11, 2015: On this night, Ian Connor tweeted that Frank Ocean was in the studio at that moment working with Playboi Carti, who had signed to A$AP the day before.
- Oct. 9, 2015: No Frank news on this day but an incredible rendition of his tribute to Aaliyah—a cover of “At Your Best (You Are Love)"—was posted by a fan online.
- Oct. 23, 2015: No Frank news on this day.
- Nov. 27, 2015: Rumors of a track on Boys Don’t Cry titled “White Ferrari”went rampant on this day with most sites picking up clues from KanyeToThe and tweets from A-Trak, Rostam Batmanglij, London nightlife promoter Tremaine Emory, among others.
- Dec. 11, 2015: The night before, a folder of 11 demos featuring production from HudMo appeared on Reddit and a corresponding tweet was retweeted by TNGHT, according to Thump. The folder was originally titled “frank oOOOOoocean” and was later re-upped as “Hudson Mohawke demos for Frank Ocean (instrumentals) (leak).” That same day, The Guardian ran an extensive thinkpiece on how waiting for Frank’s album may be a “positive sign of a more progressive music industry.”
- Jan. 8, 2016: Rich The Kid posted some photos the night prior of a Facetime session between him and Frank. The two hit the studio together and have been working, according to a Complex interview with Rich The Kid.
- Feb. 12, 2016: The day before, Frank Ocean was spotted at Kanye West’sThe Life Of Pablo listening party at Madison Square Garden. After the listening, reports came out on this day that Frank’s vocals are used on the tail end of “Wolves.”
- Feb. 19, 2016: No Frank news on this day.
- Mar. 25, 2016: No Frank news on this day—however, Quentin Miller compared getting beat up by Meek Mill’s crew to Frank in a strange way. “Punching me is like punching Frank Ocean or iLoveMakonnen,” Miller said in an interview. “Like what kind of points are you getting off of that?”
- April 6, 2016: Another scratched out date that we’re guessing was another deadline missed as there’s no tips online to the significance of that day.
- April 22, 2016: The day before, Frank Ocean penned a letter after Prince’s death and wrote about how the late icon helped him “feel more comfortable” with his own sexuality.
- May 6, 2016: The morning after James Blake’s The Colour In Anything was released, Pitchfork ran an extensive interview with the singer/songwriter where he spoke extensively about what he’s learned from working with Frank. He sent the internet into pandemonium after speaking on Boys Don’t Cry. “Yes, from what I know,” he responded to Pitchfork’s question of whether or not Frank’s album will be worth the wait. “It may be subject to change. He is onto something, he really is.”
- June 3, 2016: WorldStarHipHop started a day of rumors after tweetingBoys Don’t Cry would be released on this day—troll accounts throughout the day followed suit and had Twitter losing its mind.
Besides dates like the September 11th, where Ocean was in the studio working with Playboi Carti, or the dates surrounding various Twitter posts, it could really all be more of Ocean pulling our leg. But he's much more professional than that and I believe he may have watched National Treasure a bit too much and this is has all been a strategic wild goose chase for fans.
At this point, the album will either be out of this world incredible or fans have been told for so long about how great it's going to be, that we've become preemptively brainwashed into feeling that way automatically with whatever we hear. Bianca Gracie over at FuseTV put together an excellent list of a few collaborators that, given their past involvements and mentions, are most likely to be involved in this album in some respect.
- Pharrell: The mega-producer, who co-wrote and co-produced Channel Orange's "Sweet Life," headed back in the studio with Frank in 2013.
- Tyler, the Creator: The two Odd Future members and close friends have already popped up on each other's songs (2011's "She" and 2012's "End/Golden Girl"), so it makes all the sense they will work together again.
- Lil B: In 2014, the two were photographed in the studio together. Lil B's caption read "NEW MUSIC COMING SOON!" But it's been two years, so let's hope the track(s) sees the light of day soon.
- Danger Mouse: In the same BBC Radio 1 interview where he mentioned Pharrell, Frank also said he booked studio time with the New York-based producer.
- Tame Impala: Frank revealed he'd love to work with the Aussie psychedelic rock outfit in the same BBC Radio 1 interview.
- King Krule: He said the same of the British singer-songwriter, as well.
- Hit-Boy: Ocean hopped on a Nas track produced by Hit-Boy two years ago. And based on the producer's discography, anything is possible.
- Rodney Jerkins: According to Billboard, Frank was in the studio with the legendary producer.
- Happy Perez: The publication said the same for Perez, who worked with Ocean on 2011's Nostalgia, Ultra.
- Charlie Gambetta: See above.
- Kevin Ristro: See above.
- Jay Z: After they collaborated on Watch the Throne's "No Church in the Wild" back in 2011, Ocean then hopped on "Oceans," a track for Hov's 2013 Magna Carta Holy Grail album. A third collaboration could be possible.
- Kanye West: The two previously collaborated on WTT as well as The Life of Pablo's "Wolves." It's not a far stretch to say they also worked together on Ocean's sophomore LP.
- Martin Gore: The Depeche Mode guitarist hit the studio with the singer in 2013. Let's hope the track makes its way on this new album.
Everything leading up to this album has felt like an entire series of 'Lost'. Fingers crossed the saga of Frank Ocean's new album ends better.