Frank Ocean made waves this week, after the “controversial” decision to publicly acknowledge his bisexual orientation. Keeping the politics and paparazzo mentality separate from the proper artist (despite this author’s predilection to give the artist kudos for his decision), the Frank Ocean camp has taken the opportunity to release his much anticipated LP, Channel Orange a week ahead of time.
Currently available on iTunes and on a live stream, the short review would call this a picture perfect depiction of the 808′s and Heartbreaks era of Hip Hop — the artistic maturity of hip hop and the futurist art community. Despite whatever stories and criticism that could be made about his personal life, the album stands testament as a clear depiction of what it means to be an artist during the current evolution of hip hop and music in general. Having been raised as an 80′s baby and having born witness to what most hip hop historian’s would call the “golden era” of hip hop during the 90′s, I cannot say that I was not immune to the criticisms and the lack of musicianship while hip hop began to come of age in the mainstream eye. However, everything that this reviewer could have said negatively about the current crop of ‘hip hop futurists’ in regards to my roots in the ‘golden era’ comes to a head in this album. The album as a whole, stands through with the utmost reverence to what has come before while pointing a finger to what potentially may come in the culture and music of hip hop.
Skipping a track by track review that you will undoubtedly see and/or experience on other music blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook timelines, I’ll keep my notes short and sweet.
If I were to choose a definitive pull quote from anything that could be said about this album, it is this: “Channel Orange is Hip Hop Music’s Coming of Age.” It stands as the perfect conflagration of the politics, culture, ideals, musicianship, and artistry that it takes to be a truly ingratiated member of the above ground movement in hip hop. Despite any emotional and/or political considerations, this album is in one phrase — thought out. The musicianship and arrangement are well in line, if not more refined than his peers in the current intellectual hip hop community. (SIDE NOTE: Someone set him with a collab with Childish Gambino or Danny Brown ASAP!)
Early reports, which I can definitely agree with, place Pink Matter, his collaboration with Andre 3000, as the track in the forefront of critically supported tracks. In this reviewer’s opinion, I’d suggest listening to the album front to back a few times. Having poured into the review mid second listen, I’m still at a loss at how to truly categorize my thoughts on the album. I’m sure that one of our contributors will be able to elaborate or expound on the cursory review that I’ve provided.
My only final thoughts for our readers are the following:
Listen to it HERE
Buy it NOW!