Frank Ocean comes and goes as he pleases. He does not do the traditional album cycle with concerts and press touring. That leaves plenty of mystery as to who exactly Frank Ocean is to his music. However he has shed a little of that exterior in a rare interview with the New York Times where he discussed why he snubbed the Grammys, why is took so long to make Blonde and much more.
In the rare interview, Ocean explained why he purposefully decided not to submit Blonde or Endless to the Grammys, even after he was nominated six times for Channel Orange and has two wins under his belt.
"I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated," said Frank. He wanted to make a purposeful statement about the system and that it needs to be changed.
"That institution certainly has nostalgic importance," he said. "It just doesn't seem to be representing very well for people who come from where I come from, and hold down what I hold down." He continued, "I'd rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience," referring to the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has been kneeling during the national anthem before games in protest of treatment of African Americans at the hands of police officers in the United States.
Putting together the two albums took time. He would travel from London, to New York, to Tokyo working on music with the hard drives on him wherever he went. He had writer's block for a year and was able to break that after talking to a friend in New Orleans going through some difficult times. As he said it "made me feel as though I should talk about the way I grew up more."
The albums were more autobiographical as a result, which was different from Channel Orange.
"The end product wasn't always that gritty, real-life depiction of the real struggle that happened," he says about his 2012 LP.
In the interview, Ocean showed he had the acumen to handle the business side of his career with an attention to the data behind his music and how that affects his next moves.
He also gave a small glimpse into what the future may hold. Now that he is out of his Def Jam contract "a seven year chess game" he describes it, he can release music as he pleases. "Because I'm not in a record deal, I don't have to operate in an album format," he said. "I can operate in half-a-song format."
He seems to have plans beyond music and may get other mediums of art.
"I believe that I'm one of the best in the world at what I do, and that's all I've ever wanted to be," he said. "It's more interesting for me to figure out how to be superior in areas where I'm naïve, where I'm a novice."