“DEHH presents a tale of anticipation, excitement, mystery, hope lost, and found again”
To begin our journey, we must rewind to 2015 and that infamous Tumblr Post….the subject of the world’s collective heartache stems from, Frank Ocean announcing “he had two versions” yes twooo versions, of an album that was set for July 2015. Suffice it to say…July 2015 had arrived, stayed for 31 days, and promptly left with nothing more than the cries and tweets of sadness from fans everywhere. The rest of the year was nothing more than shortcomings and internet forum rumblings if you looked hard enough.
It wasn’t until the start of the new year we got wind of “concrete” details concerning the Channel Orange follow-up, Rich the Kid was face timing the mysterious Ocean himself and everyone put it together that this meant an apparent collaboration was in the works. Frank was even spotted at Kanye’s Life of Pablo Album Release Event and could be heard on the aptly named “Frank’s Track” on the album.
The next latest and greatest update, weirdly enough came during July 2016 a year after the supposed date. A library card was displayed on his home site with several dates, in self-inflicting emotional torture everyone thought anyone of the dates could be THE release date. The days went and July went by (again), by this point even the most hardened of fans were wrought with confusion and fear when it came to Frank Ocean and his music shenanigans. August brought the joyous occasion of his home website getting an update to accompany a livestream. It was the most we got from the man the world couldn’t track down except only in small glimpses on Snapchat or on his Mom’s Instagram. Yes, Frank Ocean fever got so bad people were commenting on barely seeing him via a video his Mom uploaded on Instagram. The stream played on and off for a duration and everyone collectively held their breath because this could’ve been the moment we waited for since July of last year…sadly that August night was not the time nor place. It was around 10 at night, some two weeks later where I was scrolling my Twitter Feed when I caught wind that Frank Ocean was revving up his Warehouse stream, sometimes on loop and sometimes live. I cautiously turned on my PS4 to witness what I had two weeks ago. A man and his tools building IKEA products to the sound of his own album that he’s kept from the world. It was something different about this go around though ladies and gentlemen…the music was fairly audible and Frank was in constant motion, building what turned out to be stairs. Sometime later, it was announced the subject of all our woes and music related troubles dropped a visual album titled ENDLESS. The wait was stalled to a point, we had finally received new music from Frank Ocean! It wasn’t the Boys Don’t Cry piece that even Lil B himself confirmed existed but it was something…and sometimes that’s all some people need for a meal. Who could’ve imagined he would drop not only a teaser project for the real thing, announce Pop-Up Shops to get the magazine he teased way back in 2015 for his new album, AND finally drop the project we’ve been waiting for since 2012? All while we were digesting ENDLESS in the same weekend.
While ENDLESS was still fresh in all of our Apple Music Playlists…Frank dropped the project that God probably sat down to listen to “blond(e)“. Depending on who you ask, or what they prefer for the labeling, it’ll have an “e” on the end. The world was blessed with TWO Frank Ocean albums in the same weekend, it was a Christmas Miracle in August. The takes were flying, the meme’s were trying to capture a moment everyone was participating in, the first listen tweets began, social media was a wreck.
We are now in a Post-Frank Ocean Album Dropped World people, capturing and writing about my specific journey to the album is one lense to view the beginning and ending…I reached out to several Frank Ocean stans (They really, really adore him and his craft) to ask “What’s the journey from the announcement in 2015 to post album drop been like for them?” Here are their responses:
@justshaadbreaux – “As well all know, it is 2016 and we are now living the days of the Boys that Don’t Cry. However, I stand before you to reveal to you the thug tear that has been shamelessly dropped for all of the living, breathing Frank Ocean fans. But before this bitch leaves the bottom of my jawline and proceeds to crash into the cold hard floor I want to rewind time for a moment to truly grasp all that has occurred within the last 3 years that has seemed like an entire lifetime. I remember it like it was yesterday; downloading the “Nostalgia Ultra” album on its release day of February 19th 2011, the very same moment I was getting the call about my grandfather’s sudden. the ups and downs he faced in his personal life as a 20-some odd year old man, somehow someway reflected the ups and downs I experienced as a 15 year old kid and has continued to follow close by, like a tirelessly evolving shadow.
After nearly 2 years and a handful of features and songwriting contributions allocating to acts such as Beyoncé, James Blake, Kanye West, and even an At Your Best cover, and I catch wave of a new post via Frank’s tumblr page, an announcement of a project slated as Boys Don’t Cry. The ideal July, 2015 release date sent me into a full cardiac attack. Fast forward, July 2015 — No Frank. It’s ok. I’ve been stood up before. No big deal. Days past, no update. No apology. It’s cool. She did the same. Plus, he came up from Odd Future so I expected some weird shit at some point in life. But after a while, the fan in me felt a little tried. I tried to tell myself I no longer cared and that I was over being a fan. However with each update that continued to surface, I found myself right back where I started; hopelessly engaged and endlessly desparate.
After nearly half a decade of unified chaos, unsupervised pandemonium, anxiety and cruel emotional manipulation, I can say that with the releases of Endless and Blond(e), I am satisfied beyond measure with the overall product he took God’s good time to deliver to those he cares about the most; his fans and supporters but also for himself. Amongst many others, Frank Ocean stands as proof for those that need the reensurance the most; that the best thing you can aim to in the this life is the best verion of you that you can possibly be. Now that I think about it, moments like these, as a fellow songwriter and recording artist, as well as a fan of music and overall human being in the millennial age, are ones that deserve to be highlighted and applauded. Besides, come on. Any artist that is bold enough to use Jazmine Sullivan and Beyoncé as background vocalists is a GOAT and deserves to be recognized and supported as such.
With all of that being said, and it’s likely some things were forgotten, omitted and or unsaid, I remain thankful for the artist and the man that is Frank Ocean for all that he’s done to push art culture and the art of music forward. Now when this is all over, preferably before, if we’re lucky, something Frank-oriented goes platinum, someone plugs me in with a Boys Don’t Cry mag and we’ll get a new 10 second snippet before I’m 30 and dying from thirst of the Oceanless drought that will reveal its ugly head once again in the nearishly distant future.”
@Glock__Lesnar –“its been crazy & none of it really hit me til frank’s line about tyler on futura free. Well the journey starts in 2014 if im gonna be accurate, thats when the anticipation really began. But from the announcement to now it was rough…because its been rumor after rumor. i remember December 2015 there were a ton of rumors surrounding white ferrari. most of the time you try not to buy into the hype but then you remember itunes updates at 11pm on Thursday and today is thursday so IT HAS TO COME TODAY and it was looking like a never ending cycle but once he launched the stream i knew the cycle was coming to an end.”
@angelAmyV – “There has been so much excitement, and lots of ups and downs. Especially after the announcement in 2015, when we thought we would finally get the album. I think everyone was kinda let down when July was over and the album still wasn’t out. Since that July everyone was kinda on their toes, thinking it could drop any second. We all respect Frank and his artistry so if he was taking his time then we knew it was gonna be perfect. The July 2016 announcement brought all the excitement back because it felt so real this time. There was no way Frank would break our hearts twice. It’s all been worth the wait though, and I met some great people along the way.”
@frankgIocean – “April 6th, 2015. I remember the day vividly, it was the day frank announced his follow up to my favorite album ever, channel ORANGE. That album held a lot of sentimental value to me so to get news that another one was coming was beyond exciting. I seen the hashtag “#JULY2015”. That made me even more hyped because that means it had a release window, and it was really coming. Little did I know…anyways, i spent the months leading up to July 2015 listening to his discography religiously, to prep for the new album. July came, and July went. I remember staying up til midnight Hawaii time on July 31st thinking “it’s gotta be coming, it’s gotta be..” I just figured it would come soon sometime after that. A whole year went by with various pump fakes started by fake Twitter accounts and industry rumors, until July 2016 came. The library card hinted at a release that month. Surely he couldn’t do this two years in a row…right??? Well he did…until August 1st came and I get a notification from my Frank group chat that there was a video on his website. I immediately jumped out my bed (I was trying to sleep at the time) and paced around my room in excitement. As the livestream went on, I actually enjoyed watching him cut wood and hearing the little instrumental snippets he would play. Then it went silent. He finished what he was building, then never came back to the stream. I felt played. I thought it was another troll, that id wait another year and have the same thing happen to me in July 2017. I was wrong. When he dropped endless on a random Thursday night I was stunned. It was beautiful. Some of the songs sounded like some of the best things I’ve ever heard. Then I was told it’s not even THE album, just a warm up. Almost like a “sorry for the wait, here’s another album” I went to sleep last Friday night with it in my ears, content to unpackage all the stories within it..I wake up to like 20 notifications that he dropped a video for the real albums single, Nikes. Listening to that and watching the video actually made me cry lol. It was very surreal. Then later that day…the full album dropped. I was with my brother and we lost our collective minds, rushing to get back home to listen to it. After a couple of days listening to blond(e), I can say that I like it more the channel ORANGE. It’s different, experimental, and beautiful in its own unique ways. He did it again.”
Sometimes an album rollout affects you so much, some of the fans have to write their powerful thoughts down. Living in a post Frank Ocean world garners reflection because we probably aren’t going to hear music from him again until the sun dies out.
Much love to everyone who gave their thoughts on Frank Ocean and his role in making sure we never trust an album release announcement ever again.