Frank Ocean fans were either left disappointed or indifferent when yet another potential release date for his followup to 2012’s Channel Orange went by. We were promised August 5 (by The New York Times), but the release date came and went once again. After three years of anticipation and a one-year tidal wave of frenzied fan speculation, Frank Ocean finally dropped Blonde, f.k.a. Boys Don’t Cry on Saturday. We’ve been collectively lapping the project up over the course of the last day and a half, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Frank’s album rollout made up for lost time in a big way. He spent those four years fine-tuning a product both progressive and familiar, one that miraculously grew along with the rest of us.
The project bubbled to the top of everyone’s minds after a short-lived stream on August 5 but would ultimately go quiet until late last Thursday night/Friday morning, when the pieces really began to fall into place. Walk with us through the steps to Frank Ocean’s Blonde.
August 19, 12:00am – Endless
Frank is the kind of artist who manages to have people eating out of the palm of his hand even when they’re mad at him, and that’s exactly what went down this past Friday (August 19) when his infamous Apple Music live stream came back to life. What had initially started as Frank building…something…while instrumentals played in the background turned into full-blown sounds featuring Jazmine Sullivan, Om’Mas Keith, and James Blake and a brand new spiral staircase. But this was just part one of Frank’s master plan.
August 20, between 4:00am – 6:00am – “Nikes”
One album had come out and another was scheduled for the weekend. Okay, I’m here for it. Come Saturday morning, Frank had an artistic orgasm of a music video ready to go for lead single “Nikes.” Chock full of color filters, Michellin tires, and tons of nudity and glitter, the video was as blissed-out and saturated as the song itself and served as the perfect volley for the slam that was to come.
August 19, 4:00pm – Popup shops/Boys Don’t Cry zine
As if another album and a music video wasn’t enough, Frank got the hypebeast’s blood boiling by announcing four popup shops that gave out his highly anticipated zine, now called Boys Don’t Cry. They’re selling for as high as $1,000 on eBay, but Frank’s mother says there are more coming, so keep those wallets in check for now.
August 20, 7:00pm – Blonde
And after all that waiting, Frank finally delivered. With features and contributions from Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Beyoncé, Pharrell, Tyler The Creator, Sullivan, and many many more, the album is streaming on Apple Music and available for purchase in iTunes. You know you wanna.
Thank you note to fans
You can call Frank a lot of things, but ungrateful isn’t one of them. He posted a self aware thank you letter on his Tumblr shortly after the album dropped.
“I had the time of my life making all of this. Thank you all. Especially those of you who never let me forget that I had to finish. Which is basically every one of y’all. Haha. Love you.”
And now we start speculating about when the tour starts…